New York

Purchase and Possession

When buying a rifle or a shotgun, no permit is required (except in New York City). When buying a handgun, a consumer must have a license to carry or posses a pistol or revolver. (See HANDGUNS- POSSESSION and CARRY) An individual person, outside New York City, who is licensed to carry or own a handgun, may apply at any time to the licensing officer in the county of their residence for amendment of his or her license to include one or more such pistols and revolvers or to remove this weapon held under this permit.

No person, firm or corporation engaged in the retail business of selling firearms including rifles, shotguns or handguns, shall sell, deliver or transfer any such gun to another person unless this new owner is provided with a locking device and a label on safe storage for this gun.

Any business that is selling firearms is required to post a sign stating in bold print: “The use of a locking device or safety lock is only one criteria of responsible firearm storage. In additional safety firearms should be stored unloaded and locked in a location that is apart from their ammunition. Also this firearm should be unattainable to children and any other unauthorized person.”

Any manufacturer of firearms that ships, transports or delivers a handgun to any customer in this state shall include in the packaging a separate sealed container that encloses: a shell casing of a bullet or projectile fired from such weapon, and any additional information that identifies such handgun.  A licensed gunsmith or dealer in firearms in this state shall, within 10 days of delivering to any person a handgun from this establishment, forward to the division of state police, the original transaction report and the sealed container enclosing the shell casing from such handgun received from the manufacturer.  See New York General Business Law Section 396.ff, referred to as CoBIS, Combined Ballistic Identification System.

Once the division of the New York State Police receives this sealed container, they shall cause to be entered in an automated electronic data-bank important data and other ballistic information significant to the identification of this shell casing and this firearm itself.

A national instant criminal background check must be conducted by firearm exhibitors before all gun sales or transfers, including rifles and shotguns at a gun show.

It is permissible for NY residents to buy or obtain rifles or shotguns in an adjoining state and to receive and transport this rifle and shotguns into the state, provided the person is otherwise eligible to own a rifle or shotgun under NY law.


There is no state license needed for the ownership of a rifle or shotgun, as long as the rifle has barrel(s) under 16 inches in length and the shotgun has barrel(s) at least 18 inches long.  

Definition of a "firearm" (a) any pistol or revolver; or (b) a shotgun having one or more barrels less than eighteen inches long or (c) a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches long, or (d) any weapon made from a shotgun or rifle that has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise is such weapon or an assault weapon.  For the purposes of this section, the length of a barrel of a shotgun or rifle is determined by measuring the distance between the muzzle and the face of the bolt, breach, or breachlock when closed. When the shotgun or rifle is cocked; the total length of a weapon, which was made from a shogun or rifle, is the distance between the furthermost ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.  This definition does not include an antique firearm.

Any person convicted of a felony, other serious offense (as defined in NYS Penal Law Section 265.17 and further as a will violation of an order of protection), or who has been categorized as not suitable to possess a rifle or shotgun (mentally incompetent) is illegal to possess a firearm.

Generally, anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed to own any firearm; however, a rifle or shotgun may be used by a person under 16 years of age but not under age 12, who is involved in target shooting on a range supervised by a military officer, certified instructor, or a parent, guardian or a person over the age of 18 with a written document from such parent or guardian. This person must be certified in hunter safety.  See New York Penal Law Section 265.00 "Exemptions" which exempts particular of groups of citizens from prosecution under the statutes, which regulates criminal ownership of weapons.  Subdivision 7-e allows a person under the age of twenty-one but at least fourteen years of age to own and use a gun, pistol or revolver, under specific recited conditions.

It is illegal to own 20 or more firearms as defined under NY law outside one’s home or business.   


In order to possess a handgun, you must have a license. You must complete an application administered by a licensing officer of the city or county where the potential applicant resides, or is primarily employed, or where his principle place of business as a merchant or storekeeper is located. An alien may obtain a firearm license if he or she meets these specifications. 

The approval of a gun license to a person is completely at the discretion of the licensing officer. A specific and concise written document expressing the reason for the denial must be provided by the license office. A denial can only be overturned in court if the denied application is shown to be random and capricious. 

Westchester County may require the gun possession applicants to successfully complete a firearms safety course and test in addition to fulfilling the other requirements.  Other counties may also stipulate that a safety course may be required for license issuance.

A license may be granted to a potential gun owner who is of good moral character, over 21 years of age, has not been convicted of a serious offense, testifies if and when he has ever been treated for mental illness, is not subject to a protective court order and illustrates that no good cause exists for the denial of the license. The age stipulation is not applicable to persons honorably discharged from the military.

Persons between age 18 and 21 may have a handgun at an indoor or outdoor pistol range located in or on grounds owned or occupied by a duly incorporated organization created for conservation purposes or to cultivate proficiency in small arms.  A person in this same age group may also possess a handgun at a target pistol shooting competition under the advocacy of or approved by the NRA and while under immediate supervision of an individual designated in NY Penal Law Section 265.20 (7)).

The gun license application will be investigated for all entries required in this document. Fingerprinting and physical description information will also be included in this process. A copy of the applicant’s fingerprints will be sent to the FBI for a search of this applicant’s criminal records. If the FBI fails or refuses to make a fingerprint check, this will not constitute the only basis for refusal to issue this permit.

The licensing officer may, in his discretion, implement stipulations to the license, limiting the facilities where the handgun may be kept or carried. No demonstration of need to own is required to get an “on premises only,” license valid for one’s home or place of business.

An “on premises only” license authorizes a handgun owner only at the location written on the license. Therefore this handgun owner cannot take his weapon anywhere else. (It should be noted further that an “on premises only” license technically restricts the holder even to transport the handgun from its retail merchant to the location stated on the license.)

This gun license application must be completed within 6 months after presentation. If there is a delay, there must be written notification by the applicant stating the reasons. This delay could be excused for good cause only.

Once a license is issued, it is valid until it is revoked, except in New York City.  A license fee is determined by the board of supervisors in each county usually at a fixed rate.  The Division of Criminal Justice Services determines the fingerprinting fee. An additional fee is incurred for each amendment to the license. In New York City and Nassau County, the City Council and Board of Supervisors, respectively, determine and maintain the license fees without regard to the state law limitation.     

Each handgun that a person owns must be listed on the license by make, model, caliber and serial number. The only exception granted to a properly licensed handgun by another licensee or license applicant at a target range.  

The name and address submitted by a potential gun owner for a license becomes a matter of public record.

If a licensee moves his residency to another licensing jurisdiction within the state of New York, he will need to notify this change in writing within 10 days of their moving. The licensee also must inscribe a record of this change on the reverse side of his license. If the licensee fails to notify his change of residency, this may result in an inability to obtain amendments, and possible termination of the license.

Carrying a Firearm

A license to own a handgun also serves as a license to carry unless otherwise stipulated. A license to carry or own a pistol or revolver shall be effective throughout the state of New York, not otherwise limited as to place or time of possession. The only restriction is that the license shall not be valid within the city of New York unless the police commissioner of that city provides a special permit allowing validity. 

In order for the applicant to carry a gun outside the home, he must be required to show that “proper cause” exits for the insurance of a carry licensee in addition to the stipulation for possession.

The license can be modified to include one or more additional or different handguns. When the licensee carries his handgun, he is required to carry his gun license on his person at all times.  

A loaded handgun may be carried in a moving vehicle by a properly licensed person.  A firearm with ammunition loaded in magazine or chamber or a person who at the same time possesses a large amount of ammunition that maybe fired using this gun is the official definition of “loaded” by New York State.

You may not possess any loaded rifle or shotgun in an moving vehicle, this is considered illegal.

Antiques & Replicas

An antique firearm is not included in The New York definition of a firearm An antique firearm is any unloaded muzzle loading pistol or revolver with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or comparable type of ignition system, or a pistol or revolver that uses fixed cartridges that are not accessible in the regular channels of commercial trade. No license is required to own, collect or carry an unloaded antique firearm.

If you own, collect and carry an antique pistol in this state, you will need to have a gun license. The antique pistol licensing statue is defined as: any single shot, muzzle loading pistol with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar ignition system manufactured in or before l898, which is not created for using rim-fire or conventional center-fire fixed ammunition; and any replica that is not designed or redesigned for using rim-fire or conventional center-fire fixed ammunition, or uses rim-fire or conventional center-fire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured and which is not accessible in the normal channels of commercial trade.  To the extent that an “antique pistol” is not also an “antique firearm,” a license would be needed for lawful possession.  

This state’s laws have clarified this to mean antique rifles, shotguns, handguns, and replicas thereof, are generally exempt from the above regulations and can be bought and owned without a permit. (Persons who shoot muzzle-loading handguns must be properly licensed.) However, to fall within the exemption, antique handguns must be unloaded and owned without the materials needed for loading.

Machine Guns

It is a felony for any person to manufacture, transport or get rid of a machine gun. It is a felony to purchase, receive, get rid of or conceal a machine gun that has been defaced for the intention of concealment. 

If a machine gun is found in any room, dwelling, structure or automobile, this finding will be considered presumptive evidence of illegal possession by all persons occupying the place where the machine gun is found.

A machine gun is defined as any weapon from which a number of bullets may be quickly or automatically fired from a magazine with one continuous pull of the trigger and includes a submachine gun.   

Range Protection

An affirmative defense can be presented by the owner of a shooting range in any suit brought against it in which noise or noise pollution is claimed in the suit.  

1. In any action or proceeding launched against an owner or user of a shooting range where one or more causes of action alleges a claim based on noise or noise pollution caused from the characteristics of shooting activity on such shooting range, it shall be an affirmative defense that, at the time of the initiation of the action or proceeding, the shooting range is in observance with any relevant noise control laws or ordinances, or, if the pertinent noise control laws or ordinances have no legal action and effect against such owner or user or there are no pertinent noise control laws or ordinances at the time of the effective date of this section, then the A-weighted sound level of small arms fire on the shooting range does not exceed 90 dB(A) for one hour out of a day, or does not exceed 85 dB(A) for eight hours out of a day measured or adjusted to a measurement of one hundred feet outside the real property boundary of the shooting range. A move for judgment dismissal on one or more causes of action brought up against an owner or user cannot be maintained because of such affirmative action.

2. Nothing in this section shall in any way restrict the rights or remedies, which are available to a person under any other law.

3. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions one and two of this section, A shooting range cannot operate during the hours of 10:00 PM until 7:00 AM unless a local law or ordinance specifically allows the operation of a shooting range during all or any portion of this time restriction.

4. For the purposes of this section:
(a) “Shooting range” shall be defined as an outdoor range equipped with targets for use with firearms and including, but not be limited to, all rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges.
(b) “A-weighted sound level” shall be defined as the sound pressure level measured by the use of a device with the metering characteristics and A-weighting frequency response recommended by sound level meters using the impulse response mode.
(c) “Sound pressure level” shall be defined as twenty times the logarithm to the base ten of the ratio of the root mean squared pressure of a sound to a indicating pressure of twenty micropascals. The unit scale to this measure shall be the decibel (dB).
(d) “Small arms” shall be defined as projectile firearms of small caliber, including rifles, pistols, and shotguns.

New York Concealed Carry Reciprocity

New York's Reciprocity States

States that will honor a New York pistol licence

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

New York will honor only one pistol license


Districts & Territories
New York City

States that will not honor a New York pistol license

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York City, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.


Any person legally in possession of a firearm who suffers the loss or theft of their registered firearm shall report the facts and circumstances of the loss or theft to a police department or sheriff’s office within twenty-four hours of this loss or theft. 

If you are in possession of an Illegal loaded firearm, this is considered a class C violent felony, punishable by a minimum mandatory term of three and a half years and a maximum of fifteen years.

It is illegal to shoot your firearm so as the bullets pass over any part of a public highway. It is unlawful to possess any rifle, shotgun or handgun in or upon a building or grounds, used for educational purposes, of any school, college or university.  It is legal, however, to carry a rifle, shotgun or handgun in or upon the forestry lands, which are located, owned and maintained by the State University of New York College of environmental science and forestry, without the written authorization of such educational institution.

It is illegal to shoot your firearm within five hundred feet from a dwelling house, farm building or farm structure actually occupied or used, school building, school playground, or occupied factory or church.

It is illegal to heedlessly fire any gun either in a public place, or in any place where there is any person to be endangered thereby.

It is illegal to intentionally point or fire a gun toward another person (except in self-defense), even if no malice or harm occurs.

It is against the law to tamper, deface, or alter the serial number or any other differentiating number or identification mark on any firearm, or to buy, receive, or get rid of a defaced firearm. Possession of any handgun, rifle or shotgun that has been defaced creates a legal presumption that the owner committed the offense.

If a firearm is discovered in a vehicle, all persons occupying this automobile is presumptive evidence of its possession except if:

  • the firearm is found upon the person of one of the passengers;
  • if the firearm is found in a vehicle operated for hire by a duly licensed driver, then this diver will not be under presumption, or
  • the firearm found is a handgun and one of the passengers has in his possession a valid license to have and carry concealed.

It is illegal to possess a bullet containing an explosive substance designed to explode upon impact or possess any armor piercing ammunition with intent to use illegally against another.  

 Unless otherwise noted, the word firearm in this document is used in its general sense, as any rifle, shotgun, or handgun. However, readers of the New York law should understand and be cognizant that the term “firearm” when it appears in the text of the statutes, means only handguns and otherfirearms of a size which may be concealed upon the person.

New York Off Limit Statues

(6) All Permits shall be effective throughout the state, except that the same shall not be valid within the city of New York unless a special permit granting validity is issued by the police commissioner of that city.

 A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree when:

(1) with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, such person:

(a) possesses a machine-gun; or

(b) possesses a loaded firearm; or

(c) possesses a disguised gun; or

(2) such person possesses five or more firearms; or

(3) such person possesses any loaded firearm. Such possession shall not, except as provided in subdivision one or seven of section 265.02 of this article, constitute a violation of this subdivision if such possession takes place in such person's home or place of business.
Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree is a class C felony.

No person shall bring into or possess a firearm at any facility of the Department of Mental Hygiene, or any residential facility which has an operating certificate issued by the department, except with permission of the director of the facility as hereinafter stated. 

No person shall bring into or possess a firearm at any facility operated or licensed by the Office of Mental Health except as provided in this section.

Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.