Twenty years after the 1881 handgun law was passed, crime was still rampant in New York City. So the legislature passed a series of additional gun control laws, collectively known as The Sullivan Laws, named for their sponsor Timothy D. Sullivan of New York City.
These laws raised the unlawful carrying of an unlicensed concealed weapon to a felony, as well as requiring a police license to purchase a firearm. This new law was highly touted as the cure for the high crime rates and would get criminals off the streets of the cities of New York.
(Excerpted from An Overview of the Handgun Control System in New York State by Roger V. Fulton, Spring 1987).