The right to gun ownership in the state of New York is guaranteed by the New York Civil Rights Law that bestows the right to bear arms on its residents. Whether you own a hand gun, rifle or shotgun prior to moving to New York State, it’s important to understand the regulations regarding the sale, possession and use of firearms within this state.
NOTE: Federal and state firearms laws can change frequently. This article is a summary of helpful guidelines, and is not to be treated as legal advice or a restatement of law. To determine which laws apply to your specific circumstance, you are strongly urged to consult a local attorney. It is your responsibility to stay up to date and comply with state and federal gun laws.
Permit and Registration Requirements
Although a permit is required to purchase handguns within the state, no permit is required to purchase a rifle or shotgun. Licensing of ownership is required for hand guns and pistols throughout the state, but only New York City requires rifle and shotgun owners to also register their firearms. Gun owners must be at least 21 years of age to apply for a firearms license by visiting their local police department to start the application process, which includes fingerprinting as well as a background check. This application is then passed along to the New York State Police Department for further scrutiny, including mandatory personal references. It normally takes between 4 to 6 months from filing an application for a license to be awarded to the gun owner. It is essential that any gun owner moving into New York State be certain to register their firearms, as anyone who carries or discharges an unregistered handgun faces a felony arrest.
New York requires a permit to carry a hand gun but only New York City requires a permit to carry or conceal a shotgun or rifle. Once a license to possess a hand gun is obtained, it also serves as a license to carry this firearm anywhere within the state, with the exception of New York City. Permits issued outside of New York City are not valid within the city limits, unless the gun owner is a retired federal law enforcement or police officer.
Restrictions on gun possession varies widely from county to county throughout the state, and is most stringent within New York City. Gun owners moving into the state are advised to check with the police department located in their new county of residence in order to familiarize themselves with any rules and regulations regarding handgun, pistol, shotgun or rifle ownership and usage as dictated by that specific county. Gun laws that apply to New York State can differ very widely from those enforced within the boundaries of New York City. Most cities in the state have enacted a ban on possessing assault weapons.
Purchasing New Guns
An individual must hold a valid Pistol Permit issued by New York City or a county within the state in order to legally purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer.