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New York Gun Laws

New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. The right to keep and bear arms is not discussed in the state’s constitution, which has enabled New York to pass legislation that is more restrictive than current federal gun laws. To obtain a firearm in New York, a purchaser must obey a strict screening and licensing process. Concealed carry is legal with a permit, but New York reserves the right to deny any applicant. These laws have made New York into one of the most firearms-restrictive states in the country.

New York Gun Laws at a Glance

Concealed Carry Premit Required Yes
Open Carry Premitted No
Waiting period before purchasing No
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting Yes
Firearms License Required for Purchasing Yes
Universal Background Check Yes
Firearm Registration Yes
Large Capacity Magazine Ban Yes

Firearm License Requirements

In New York, anyone wishing to obtain a handgun must first possess a license to do so. Applications are submitted to the licensing authority of the city or county in which the applicant resides, is employed, or maintains a principal place of business. The application must include current photographs and fingerprints.

If approved, the license will specify the weapon by make, model, caliber, and serial number. It will also indicate if the handgun may be carried or if it will be possessed at a particular location. A person licensed to possess a handgun may apply for further licenses to include more weapons at any time.

To be eligible such a license, there must be “no good cause for the denial of a license” and the applicant must be someone who:

  • is twenty-one years of age or older. If the applicant has been honorably discharged from the United States armed forces or the national guard of the state of New York, no such age restriction shall apply
  • is of good moral character
  • has not been convicted in any state of a felony or a serious offense
  • is not a fugitive from justice
  • Is not an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • is not illegally or unlawfully in the United States or has not been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa
  • has not been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions
  • has not renounced United States citizenship
  • has stated whether he or she has ever suffered any mental illness
  • has not been involuntarily committed to a facility under the jurisdiction of an office of the department of mental hygiene or has not been civilly confined in a secure treatment facility pursuant to article 10 of the mental hygiene law
  • has not had a license revoked or who is not under a suspension or ineligibility order issued
  • In the county of Westchester, has successfully completed a firearms safety course and subsequent test
  • has not had a guardian appointed for him or her pursuant to any provision of state law, based on a determination that as a result of marked mental illness, disease, or subnormal capacity, he or she lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs

Background Checks

New York enforces universal background checks. Prior to the sale/transfer/exchange of any firearm, New York requires a check of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This applies to purchases by both private and licensed dealers.

Gun Shows

New York Gun Show definition “An event sponsored, whether for profit or not, by an individual, national, state or local organization, association or other entity devoted to the collection, competitive use, sporting use, or any other legal use of firearms, rifles or shotguns”

This can also be applied to events where: Twenty percent or more of all exhibitors are firearms exhibitors Ten or more firearms exhibitors are participating Twenty-five or more handguns are offered for sale or transfer Fifty or more firearms are offered for sale or transfer

Firearms sales and transfers at gun shows must be processed by a licensed dealer. Potential purchasers must go through the background check procedure that applies to retail firearms transfers.

Further, gun show operators must have signs posted that read: “A National Instant Criminal Background Check must be completed prior to all firearm sales or transfers, including sales or transfers of rifles or shotguns.”

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons Prohibited
50 Caliber Rifles Not restricted
Machine Guns Prohibited
Large Capacity Magazines Prohibited
Ammunition Armor-piercing and explosive ammunition are prohibited.

Prohibited Persons

New York law prohibits any person who is not a citizen of the United States from owning a firearm. You may not possess a long gun if you:

  • Have been certified not suitable to possess a long gun by a hospital or an institution for mental illness
  • Have been convicted of a felony or “serious offense.” Serious offenses include all of the following crimes:
    • Illegally using, carrying or possessing a handgun or another dangerous weapon
    • Making or possessing instruments for burglary
    • Buying or receiving stolen property
    • Unlawful entry into any building
    • Aiding an escape from any prison
    • Certain offenses of disorderly conduct
    • Certain drug offenses
    • Crimes involving sodomy or rape
    • Child endangerment
    • Certain crimes relating to prostitution
    • Certain kinds of stalking
    • Certain violent or threatening crimes committed against a member of the same family or household, including assault, strangulation, menacing, harassment, and trespass

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools It is a felony offense to bring a firearm on the grounds of any educational institution. Firearms may be permitted with the written permission of the institution.
Vehicles New York prohibits the possession of any firearm outside of one’s residence or place of business. You may carry in a vehicle with a concealed carry license, with the exception of New York City, where concealed carry licensed are not valid.

Concealed Carry Laws

Notify Officer No
“No Gun” Signs Not discussed by New York state law.
In-Vehicle Carry Prohibited
Restaurant Carry Permitted
State Park Carry Permitted

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

Concealed carry is legal with a New York Pistol License (NYPL). A NYPL is not valid in New York City. No handguns can be taken into New York City unless the city has specifically validated your license.

New York is a ‘may issue’ state, meaning that the governing body has the right to deny any applicant that is deemed unfit to carry.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
To be granted a New York concealed carry permit, an applicant must:
  • Be 21 years of age. This does not apply to those honorably discharged from the U.S. military
  • Be a U.S. citizen (or legal resident)
  • Not have been admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa
  • Be of upstanding moral character
  • Show proper cause exists for the issuance of a carry license
  • Reside or maintain a principal place of business within the county in which the application is filed
  • Not have been convicted anywhere of a felony or a serious offense
  • Not be a fugitive from justice
  • Not be subject to a protective order
  • Not be an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Be free from any mental disorders, defects or diseases that would impair his or her ability to safely possess or use a firearm
  • Not have had a license revoked or not be under a suspension or ineligibility order
  • Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
  • Not have been involuntarily committed to a facility under the jurisdiction of an office of the department of mental hygiene
  • Not have good cause that exists for the denial of the license
  • Meet federal law requirements.

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

Except in the county of Westchester, New York does not require applicants for a license to carry a handgun to complete any kind of firearm safety training.

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a valid concealed carry permit, you may not bring a firearm to the following locations:

  • Buildings or grounds used for educational purposes
  • On the grounds of a residential child care facility
  • In state parks (this does not apply to some areas where hunting is permitted)
  • Statue Cruises ferry to Ellis Island & Liberty Island, and the Statue of Liberty National Monument
  • Public campgrounds (this does not apply during the spring and fall hunting seasons)
  • Zoar Valley Multiple-Use Area (this does not apply during the small-game and big-game hunting seasons)
  • Posted trails on the Adirondack Mountain Reserve
  • Courthouses
  • 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
  • Government buildings in certain cities and counties
  • Airports
  • Within the city of New York (unless granted permission through a licensed issued by the police commissioner of that city)
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.