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New York Gun Laws

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION - None. However, Article 2, Section 4 of the New York Civil Rights Law provides: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed.”

Gun Laws Overview

Permit to Purchase No* Yes
Registration of Firearms No* Yes
Licensing of Owners No* Yes
Permit to Carry No* Yes

* Except in New York City.

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

RECIPROCITY NOTES: Michigan recognizes New York’s RESIDENT permit only.  

Castle Doctrine No Law
No-Net Loss No Legislation
Right to Carry Confidentiality Provisions Enacted
Right to Carry in Restaurants Legal
Right To Carry Laws Rights Restricted-Very Limited Issue
Right To Carry Reciprocity and Recognition None
Right to Keep & Bear Arms State Constitutional Provisions No Provisions
Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Select Map
Click on a State to see the Gun Law Profile


Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms


No permit is required for the purchase of a rifle or shotgun (except in New York City).

A license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver is required to purchase a handgun. (See HANDGUNS- POSSESSION and CARRY.) Elsewhere than the City of New York, a person licensed to carry or possess a pistol or revolver may apply at any time to the licensing officer in the county of their residence for an amendment of his or her license to include one or more such handguns, or to remove a handgun held under the license.


No person, firm or corporation engaged in the retail business of selling rifles, shotguns or handguns, shall sell, deliver or transfer any such gun to another person unless the transferee is provided with a gun-locking device and a label on safe storage.  Any business selling firearms must post a sign where the firearms are displayed or sold stating, in bold print, “The use of a locking device or safety lock is only one aspect of responsible firearm storage. For increased safety firearms should be stored unloaded and locked in a location that is both separate from their ammunition and inaccessible to children and any other unauthorized person.”  NY Gen. Bus. Law § 396-ee. 

Any manufacturer that ships, transports or delivers a handgun to any person in this state shall include in the container a separate sealed container that encloses a shell casing of a bullet or projectile discharged from such handgun, and any additional information that identifies such handgun. Upon retail sale of a new handgun, a dealer in firearms or gunsmith that delivers the handgun to any person other than another dealer in firearms shall within 10 days forward to the division of state police officer by certified US mail or by a parcel delivery service that maintains package tracking capabilities either: (1) the ballistic sample received from the manufacturer; or (2) the certificate of compliance issued by the New York State Police upon collection of the ballistic sample for such firearm at a regional Combined Ballistic Identification System (CoBIS) center. Upon receipt of the sealed container, the division of state police shall cause to be entered in an automated electronic data-bank pertinent data and other ballistic information relevant to identification of the shell casing and to the handgun from which it was discharged. See New York regulations, 9 NYCRR 472, Combined Ballistic Identification System or “CoBIS.”

It is lawful for New York residents to purchase or obtain rifles or shotguns in a contiguous state and to receive and transport said rifles and shotguns into the state, provided the person is otherwise eligible to possess a rifle or shotgun under New York law.

New York law regulates gun show sales. A “gun show” is defined as 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, or an event at which (a) 20% or more of the total number of exhibitors are firearm exhibitors or (b) ten or more firearm exhibitors are participating or (c) a total of 25 or more pistols or revolvers are offered for sale or transfer or (d) a total of 50 or more firearms, rifles or shotguns are offered for sale or transfer. “Gun show” includes any building, structure or facility where firearms, rifles or shotguns are offered for sale or transfer and any grounds used in connection with the event. A national instant criminal background check is required and no person shall sell or transfer a firearm at a gun show, except in accordance with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 922(t). A gun show operator is required to post signs at all entrances, at all places where admission tickets to the gun show are sold, and not less than four additional locations within the grounds of the gun show, stating “A National Instant Criminal Background Check must be completed prior to all firearm sales or transfers, including sales or transfers of rifles or shotguns.” NY Gen. Bus. Law §§ 895, 896, 897.  The definition of “gun show” was found to be partially unconstitutional as being overbroad in the case of Scope, Inc. v. Pataki, 386 F. Supp. 2d 184 (W.D.N.Y. 2005): it essentially declared any gathering or assembly of gun owners for any purpose a “gun show” and infringed on the plaintiff gun associations’ and gun clubs’ right to lawfully assemble, right to free speech and right to petition the government.

As a result of the SAFE Act, private sales, exchanges or disposals of firearms (except those between members of an immediate family, as defined) require a national instant criminal background check (NICS check) to be completed by a firearms dealer, who must also complete a document, the form of which shall be approved by the superintendent of state police, that identifies and confirms that such check was performed. For purposes of the law, “immediate family” means only spouses, domestic partners, children and step-children. NY Gen. Bus. Law § 898. It is an offense to fail to comply with this requirement. A firearms dealer may only charge up to $10 to conduct the background check.  

A person is guilty of criminal sale of a firearm to a minor when he is not authorized pursuant to law to possess a firearm and he unlawfully sells, exchanges, gives or disposes of a firearm to another person who is or reasonably appears to be less than 19 years of age who is not licensed pursuant to law to possess a firearm. NY Penal Law § 265.16.

New York law makes it a felony for a person to purchase a firearm knowing that he or she is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm because of a prior conviction or because of some other legal disability, or to purchase or obtain a firearm for, on behalf of, or for the use of another person, knowing that it would be unlawful for that other person to possess a firearm. NY Penal Law § 265.17. 

It is an offense to sell or offer to sell a paint pellet gun to any person under 16 years of age. NY Gen. Bus. Law §399-r.

Ammunition Transactions. As of January 15, 2014, all sellers of ammunition (any person, firm, partnership, corporation or company that engages in the business of purchasing, selling or keeping ammunition) are required to register with the State Police. Any dealer in firearms validly licensed pursuant to NY Penal Law § 400.00 does not have to register. (The State website advises that a dealer in firearms so licensed, or a Federal Firearms Licensee, would be automatically registered by the New York State Police as a seller of ammunition and “do not need to take any further action.” See https://www.governor.ny.gov/nysafeact/ammunition). The registrations do not currently have an expiration date but are subject to revocation if the holder becomes no longer eligible to possess ammunition under federal law.

The SAFE Act requires that as of January 15, 2014, no "commercial transfer of ammunition" shall take place unless it is an “in person” transaction where a licensed dealer in firearms or registered seller of ammunition acts as an intermediary between the transferor and the ultimate transferee of the ammunition. However, certain organizations that distribute ammunition on their premises may register with the State to continue to receive direct shipments of ammunition.

The SAFE Act provides for new background check and record-keeping requirements on sellers of ammunition, to take effect 30 days after the Superintendent of the New York State Police certifies that a statewide license and record database is operational. Specifically, sellers of ammunition or dealers in firearms must keep a record book, approved as to form by the superintendent of state police, and record, at the time of every transaction involving ammunition, the date, name, age, occupation and residence of any person from whom ammunition is received or to whom ammunition is delivered, and the amount, calibre, manufacturer’s name and serial number (or if none, any other distinguishing number or identification mark) on such ammunition. The record book shall be maintained on the premises of the licensee and made available at all reasonable hours for inspection by law enforcement.

In addition, a background check is required prior to the transfer of ammunition to any person who is not a dealer in firearms or a seller of ammunition. Sellers of ammunition are required to verify the transferee’s ID and check with the statewide license and record database to confirm that the transferee is eligible to possess ammunition. NOTE: The new background check and record-keeping requirements on ammunition sales were scheduled to take effect 30 days after the Superintendent of the New York State Police certifies that a statewide license and record database is operational for such a process. As of June 11, 2014, that certification had not been made as the system was “being developed,” and there was “no set start date” (see https://www.governor.ny.gov/nysafeact/ammunition). Since then, in July 2015, a memorandum of understanding was signed that suspended the portion of the SAFE Act related to these background checks, based on “the lack of adequate technology,” and that the database “cannot be established and/or function in the manner originally intended at this time.” (See http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/10/nyregion/document-order-delaying-new-york-ammunition-checks.html.)

It is unlawful for any dealer in firearms to sell any ammunition designed exclusively for use in a pistol or revolver to any person who is not authorized to possess a pistol or revolver. NY Penal Law § 270.00. 

Possession - Rifles and Shotguns

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


"Firearm" means (a) any pistol or revolver; or (b) a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length or (c) a rifle having one or more barrels less than 16 inches in length, or (d) any weapon made from a shotgun or rifle whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise is such weapon is altered modified, or otherwise has an overall length of less than 26 inches, or (e) an assault weapon.  For the purposes of this definition, the length of a barrel of a shotgun or rifle shall be determined by measuring the distance between the muzzle and the face of the bolt, breach, or breachlock when closed, and when the shotgun or rifle is cocked; the overall length of a weapon made from a shogun or rifle is the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.  "Firearm" does not include an antique firearm.

It is unlawful for any person convicted of a felony or other "serious offense" (as defined in NY Penal Law § 265.00(17), or who has been certified as not suitable to possess a rifle or shotgun (mentally incompetent, as defined in NY Penal Law § 265.00(16)) to possess a rifle or shotgun. Subjects of domestic violence protection orders may be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.11, 530.12, 530.14; N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act §§ 812, 822, 828(3), 842-a; N.Y. Penal Law §§  400.00(1), (11).

The crime of “criminal possession of a firearm in the fourth degree” was amended in 2011 to add the possession of an “antique firearm,” “black powder rifle,” “black powder shotgun,” or a “muzzle-loading firearm,”  as defined. The provision, NY Penal Law § 265.01(4), now prohibits a person who has a prior conviction for a felony or “serious offense” from possessing such weapons or a rifle or shotgun. 

Generally, it is unlawful for anyone under the age of 16 to possess any firearm; however, a rifle or shotgun may be possessed by a person under 16 years of age but not under age 12, who is engaged 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 designated in writing by such parent or guardian, provided the adult has a hunter safety certificate. See NY Penal Law § 265.20, "Exemptions," which exempts classes of individuals from prosecution under the statutes which regulate criminal possession of weapons. Subdivision 7-e allows a person under the age of 21 but at least 14 years of age to possess and use a pistol or revolver under specific enumerated conditions.

NY Penal Law § 265.03(3) makes the possession of a loaded firearm a felony unless, (1) with some exceptions, possession takes place in a person's home or place of business, or (2) the possession falls with the exemptions in NY Penal Law § 265.20. New York law defines a loaded firearm as any firearm loaded with ammunition, or a firearm which is possessed by a person who, at the same time, possesses ammunition which may be used to discharge that firearm. NY Penal Law § 265.00(15). 

Possession - Handguns

A license is needed to possess a handgun. The application is made to the licensing officer of the city or county where the applicant resides, is principally employed, or where his principal place of business as a merchant or storekeeper is located. An alien may obtain a pistol license if he or she meets these requirements. NY Penal Law § 400(3).


The determination whether to grant the license is completely within the discretion of the licensing officer. However, the licensing officer must state specifically and concisely in writing the reasons for a denial. NY Penal Law § 400.00(4-a). A denial can only be overturned in court if it is shown to be arbitrary and capricious.

A license may be granted to an applicant who:

  • is of good moral character,
  • is over 21 years of age (the age requirement does not apply to persons honorably discharged from the military),
  • has not been convicted of a felony or “serious offense” and is not a fugitive from justice,
  • is not an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance,
  • is not an illegal alien, or an alien admitted under a nonimmigrant visa (unless the exceptions in 18 U.S.C. 922(y)(2) apply), or a U.S. citizen that has renounced his or her citizenship,
  • has not been discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions,
  • discloses if and when he or she has ever been treated for mental illness, and has not been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility or had a guardian appointed because he or she lacked mental capacity,
  •  has not had a license revoked, and is not under a suspension or ineligibility order as part of a protective order,

and for whom no good cause otherwise exists for the denial of the license. NY Penal Law § 400.00(1). 

Westchester County may require the applicant to successfully complete a firearms safety course and test in addition to meeting the other requirements.  Other counties may also require a safety course for license issuance.

The applicant must also provide fingerprints, and photographs taken within thirty days of the date the application is filed. The police investigate all statements made in response to the requirements in the application. One copy of the fingerprints will be forwarded to the FBI for a search of the applicant’s criminal records.

The license fee is fixed by the board of supervisors in each county. The Division of Criminal Justice Services sets the fingerprinting fee. A fee is charged fee for each amendment to the license. In New York City and Nassau County, the City Council and Board of Supervisors, respectively, set the license fees without regard to the state law limitation.    

Generally, an application for a license must be acted upon within six months after it is filed but the applicant may be given written notice of a delay. This delay is limited to “good cause” only, and the written notice must specifically state the reason(s) for the delay. NY Penal Law § 400.00(4-a).

The licensing officer may, in his discretion, add restrictions to the license, limiting the places where the handgun may be kept or carried provided there is a rational basis for this and the decision is not arbitrary or capricious.

If issued, an “on premises only” license authorizes the possession of a handgun only at the location written on the license. NY Penal Law § 400.00(7). It does not authorize the holder to take such handgun to any other place. (It should be noted further that an “on premises only” license technically does not authorize the holder even to transport the handgun from its place of purchase to the location stated on the license.)

A license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver, not otherwise limited as to place or time of possession, is effective throughout the state except within New York City, unless a special permit granting validity is issued by the NYC police commissioner. NY Penal Law § 400.00(6).

Each handgun possessed must be listed on the license by make, model, caliber and serial number. NY Penal Law § 400.00(7). The only exception is possession of a properly licensed handgun by another licensee or license applicant at a target range; see NY Penal Law § 265.20(7-a). A person may apply to amend the license to change the weapons held under that license.

The NY SAFE Act amended New York law to require that all pistol permits be “recertified” every five years starting January 2014. Failure to recertify operates as a revocation of the license. NY Penal Law § 400.00(10)(b).

Under the NY SAFE Act, if a licensee at any time becomes ineligible to obtain or hold a license, the license is deemed revoked and, under NY Penal Law § 400.00(11)(c), the licensee is required to surrender (1) his or her license, and (2) his or her firearms, not just the licensed firearm(s), to law enforcement. In the event such license or firearm(s) are not surrendered, “such items shall be removed and declared a nuisance and any police officer or peace officer acting pursuant to his or her special duties is authorized to remove any and all such weapons.”

The NY SAFE Act amended state law regarding the name and address submitted by an applicant to obtain the license. Generally, this information becomes a matter of public record. However, applications for licenses must now include an opt-out form, in which an applicant may request an exception from his or her application information becoming a public record, and to specify the reason from those listed (for example, that the applicant's life or safety may be endangered by disclosure for the listed reason or the applicant has reason to believe he or she may be subject to unwarranted harassment upon disclosure). NY Penal Law § 400.00(5). The licensing officer is to grant such exceptions unless the request is knowingly based on false information. An applicant may file an opt-out form anytime, but after May 15, 2013, if no opt-out form has been filed, the applicant’s information may be subject to release under access to information laws. See the NYS Division of State Police website for the form and additional information: https://troopers.ny.gov/Firearms/Public_Records_Exemption.

A licensee who changes his or her residence to another licensing jurisdiction within the state shall provide notification of the address change in writing within ten days after the change occurs, and a record of such change shall be inscribed by such licensee on the reverse side of the license.

Although 21 is generally the minimum age for licensees (see NY Penal Law § 400.00(1)), NY Penal Law § 265.20(7-e) allows persons aged between 14 and 21 that meet the qualifications listed to possess and use a handgun at an indoor or outdoor pistol range, as described, or at a target pistol shooting competition under the auspices of or approved by the NRA, and while under the immediate supervision of a person designated in NY Penal Law § 265.20 (7). 


New York State issues various types of handgun licenses under NY Penal Law § 400.00(2) (e.g., to have and possess in a dwelling by a householder; to have and possess in a place of business by a merchant). Not all license types allow unrestricted concealed carrying. The license must specify whether it is issued to carry on the person or possess on the premises, and if on the premises, it must specify the place where the licensee may possess the handgun.  NY Penal Law § 400.00(7).  An applicant for a license to carry outside the home must be required to show, in addition to the requirement for possession, that “proper cause” exists for the issuance of a carry license.  


A license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver, not otherwise limited as to place or time of possession, is effective throughout the state with the exception of New York City, unless the NYC police commissioner issues a special permit granting license validity. NY Penal Law § 400.00(6) (section lists the limited exceptions to this, such as the license to carry or possess being valid within New York City in the absence of a special permit for firearms covered by such license that have been purchased from a licensed dealer within NYC and are being transported out of the city immediately from the dealer by the licensee, in a locked container, during a continuous and uninterrupted trip).

A licensee is required to carry the license on his or her person at all times when carrying a handgun, and if licensed to possess a handgun on particular premises, is required to have the license for the same on the premises. The licensee is required to produce the license for inspection when asked by a law enforcement officer. Note that the failure of a licensee to produce the license as required is “presumptive evidence that he or she is not duly licensed.” NY Penal Law § 400.00(8).

New York law prohibits the possession of a “loaded” handgun (or any loaded firearm) outside of a person’s home or place of business without a carry license. NY Penal Law § 265.03(3).  State law defines “loaded” as a firearm with ammunition loaded in the magazine or chamber, or any firearm which is possessed by a person who, at the same time, possesses a quantity of ammunition which may be used to discharge such a firearm. NY Penal Law § 265.00(15). 

Possession of a loaded rifle or shotgun in a vehicle is generally illegal. N.Y. Envtl. Conserv. Law § 11-0931(2) (permit may be issued to any person who is non-ambulatory to possess a loaded firearm in or on a motor vehicle for hunting).

There are some carrying restrictions based on location. These include N.Y. Comp. Codes R & Regs. tit.14 § 45.1, which provides that “no person” shall bring into or possess a firearm at any facility of the NY 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. “No person” may bring into or possess a firearm at any facility operated or licensed by the Office of Mental Health of the Department of Mental Hygiene, unless the person comes within the exceptions in N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 14, s 542.5(a). Employees, volunteers and consultants of a “child care agency” are prohibited from possessing firearms or other dangerous weapons while on the grounds of “residential child care facilities.” N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 18, § 441.19(f). 

New York State does not recognize concealed weapons permits issued by other states. 


The New York law's definition of a "firearm" does not include an antique firearm.  NY Penal Law § 265.00(3). An "antique firearm" is defined as any unloaded muzzle-loading pistol or revolver with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system, or a pistol or revolver that uses fixed cartridges that are no longer available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade. NY Penal Law § 265.00(14). A license is not required to possess, collect or carry an unloaded antique firearm.    


However, a license is required to possess, collect and carry antique pistols. The licensing statute defines an "antique pistol" as: any single shot, muzzle-loading pistol with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system manufactured in or before l898, which is not designed for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition; and any replica if such replica is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.  To the extent that an “antique pistol” is not also an “antique firearm,” a license would be required for lawful possession.  

New York law has interpreted this to mean antique rifles, shotguns, handguns, and replicas thereof, are generally exempt from the above restrictions and can be bought and possessed 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 possessed without the materials required for loading.


It is unlawful for any person to carry, possess or transport a handgun in or through the state unless he has a valid New York license.


A provision of federal law provides a defense to state or local laws which would prohibit the passage of persons with firearms in interstate travel if the person is traveling from any place where he may lawfully possess and transport a firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and transport such firearm and the firearm is unloaded and in the trunk. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm shall be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.

A member or coach of an accredited college or university target pistol team may transport a handgun into or through New York to participate in a collegiate, Olympic or target pistol shooting competition provided that the handgun is unloaded and carried in a locked carrying case and the ammunition is carried in a separate locked container.

Nonresidents competing in an organized competitive pistol match or league competition under auspices of, or approved by, the National Rifle Association, or an organized match sanctioned by the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association, may enter or pass through New York State within forty-eight hours of such an event for the purposes of travelling to and from the event, provided the competitor also has in his or her possession a pistol license or firearms registration card issued in accordance with the laws of the place of residence; has not been previously convicted of a felony or a crime which, if committed in New York, would constitute a felony; and the pistols or revolvers are transported unloaded in a locked opaque container together with a copy of the match program, match schedule or match registration card.  

Possession of firearms by a person who is a nonresident of this state is lawful while attending or traveling to or from an organized convention or exhibition approved by the NRA, and in which the nonresident is a registered participant within forty-eight hours of such event, provided that the nonresident has not been previously convicted of a felony and further provided that the firearms are transported unloaded in a locked opaque container together with a copy of the convention or exhibition program, convention or exhibition schedule, or convention or exhibition registration card.  This provision does not apply in NY cities not wholly contained within a single county.

A non-immigrant alien may possess a rifle or shotgun for use while hunting provided he has a valid hunting license issued by New York State and an approved gun import form from the BATFE. 

In Osterweil v. Bartlett, 21 N.Y.3d 580, 999 N.E.2d 516 (N.Y. 2013), the Court of Appeals of New York ruled that the state handgun licensing statute did not preclude the applicant, a previous resident who became a part-time resident of New York when he acquired a permanent domicile elsewhere, from being eligible for a New York handgun license in the city or county where his part-time residence was located. 

Machine Guns

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


It is a felony for any person to manufacture, transport, or dispose of a machine gun. It is a felony to buy, receive, dispose or conceal a machine gun that has been defaced for the purposes of concealment.

The presence in any room, dwelling, structure or vehicle of any machine gun is presumptive evidence of unlawful possession by all of the persons occupying the place where the machine gun is found.

Assault Weapons and Magazines

It shall be unlawful to possess any “assault weapon” or “large capacity ammunition feeding device” except as permitted by the law. Residents of New York who lawfully owned an "assault weapon," as defined, prior to January 15, 2013 were required to either sell it or register it with the State Police before April 15, 2014. NY Penal Law § 400.00(16-a). Registration information includes the registrant's name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, social security number and a description of each weapon being registered.


A person who lawfully possessed the weapon prior to Jan. 15, 2013 and knowingly fails to register by the aforementioned deadline may be charged with a class A misdemeanor; if the omission is an unknowing failure to validly register within the period the person is liable to a warning and may be given thirty days in which to apply to register or to surrender the weapon. NY Penal Law § 400.00(16-c). 

As of January 2013, the SAFE Act amended NY Penal Law § 265.00(22) to redefine “assault weapon” to include:

  • semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

(iii) a thumbhole stock;

(iv) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

(v) a bayonet mount;

(vi) a flash suppressor,

(vii) muzzle brake (note: this reads "muzzle break" as originally written and was held to be unconstitutionally vague by New York State Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Cuomo, 990 F.Supp.2d 349 (W.D. N.Y. 2013), but upheld on appeal, New York State Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Cuomo, 804 F.3d 242 (2d Cir. 2015) (reasoning that because the misspelled “muzzle break” has no accepted meaning, there was “no meaningful risk that a party might confuse the legislature’s intent”)). 

(viii) muzzle compensator,

(ix) a threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle brake, or muzzle compensator (see note above at (vii) re: "muzzle break").

(x) a grenade launcher.

(NY State list of some common rifles that are classified as “assault weapons” https://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/RiflesthatAREclassifiedasassaultweapons.pdf)

  • semiautomatic shotgun that has at least one of the following characteristics:

(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) a thumbhole stock;

(iii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

(iv) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of seven rounds; or

(v) an ability to accept a detachable magazine.

(NY State list of some common shotguns that are classified as “assault weapons” https://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/ShotgunsthatAREclassifiedasassaultweapons.pdf)

  • semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) a thumbhole stock;

(iii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

(iv) the capacity to accept an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

(v) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;

(vi) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned;

(vii) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded, or

(viii) a semiautomatic version of an automatic rifle, shotgun or firearm. (Note: this provision was held to be unconstitutionally vague in New York State Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Cuomo, 990 F.Supp.2d 349 (W.D. N.Y. 2013), but upheld on appeal, New York State Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Cuomo, 804 F.3d 242 (2d Cir. 2015)).

(NY State list of some common pistols classified as “assault weapons” https://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/Pistolsthatareclassifiedasassaultweapons.pdf

  • A revolving cylinder shotgun.

“Assault weapon” generally does not include:

(i) any rifle, shotgun or pistol that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; that has been rendered permanently inoperable; or is an antique firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(16),

(ii) a semiautomatic  rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine  that holds more than five rounds of ammunition or a semiautomatic shotgun that cannot hold more than  five rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine,

(iii) any firearm, rifle, or shotgun manufactured at least 50 years ago, but not including replicas that have been validly registered, or

(iv) a rifle, shotgun or pistol, or a replica or a duplicate thereof, specifically exempted from the federal assault weapon ban list as such weapon was manufactured on October 1, 1993.

It also excludes any weapon properly registered pursuant to NY Penal Law § 400.00(16-a).

Questions regarding the legality of a specific firearm (complying with the assault weapons regulations) should be directed toward an attorney or other qualified official in determining the characteristics unique to that particular weapon.

For further reference, see the Frequently Asked Questions page at http://www.governor.ny.gov/nysafeact/gun-owners

A person who lawfully possessed an "assault weapon" on or before January 15, 2013 may keep it but was required to comply with the registration requirements by April 15, 2013.   

Each registration of an assault weapon is valid for five years. All registrants shall recertify to the division of state police every five years thereafter. Failure to recertify shall result in a revocation of such registration. New York Penal Law § 400.00(16-a).

Changes of name, address, or any contact information must be submitted using an amendment form.  A transfer form must be completed if the owner transfers the assault weapon out of state, to a firearms dealer, or to a law enforcement agency or officer. (The persons or entities that may legally possess the weapon; there is no provision allowing for a transfer to an immediate family member in-state). The transfer must be reported within 72 hours of completing the transfer. A transfer form also must be completed for any stolen, lost or destroyed assault weapon within the specified time frame.


 A “large capacity ammunition feeding device” is defined as a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, manufactured after September 13, 1994, that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition.  There is an exception for an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition, or it qualifies as a curio or relic. NY Penal Law § 265.00(23).

Before the enactment of the SAFE Act, the definition excluded a large capacity magazine manufactured prior to Sept. 13, 1994. This exemption has been deleted by the SAFE Act. Possession of a "large capacity feeding device" is an offense (criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree) pursuant to NY Penal Law § 265.02(8). However, this excludes a person who lawfully possessed a large capacity magazine that was previously exempt prior to the effective date of the SAFE Act; such persons may be covered by the lesser penalty provision in NY Penal Law § 265.36. 

A large capacity ammunition feeding device that was legally possessed by a person prior to the enactment of the SAFE Act may only be sold to, exchanged with or disposed of to a purchaser authorized to possess such weapons or to an individual or entity outside of the state. There are reporting requirements and deadlines respecting these transfers; see NY Penal Law § 265.00(22)(h). 

A person who is not authorized pursuant to law to possess a firearm and sells, exchanges, gives or disposes of a large capacity ammunition feeding device to another person is guilty of the criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree, a class D felony. A person who unlawfully manufactures, disposes of, transports or ships a large capacity ammunition feeding device is guilty of a class D felony; any person who knowingly buys, receives, disposes of, or conceals a large capacity ammunition feeding device which has been defaced for the purpose of concealment or prevention of the detection of a crime or misrepresenting the identity of such large capacity ammunition feeding device, rifle or shotgun is guilty of a class D felony.

The presence in an automobile of any large capacity ammunition feeding device or defaced large capacity ammunition feeding device is presumptive evidence of its possession by all occupants at the time such weapon is found, unless the device is found on the person of one occupant, or the vehicle is being operated for hire by a duly licensed driver, in which case the presumption shall not apply to the driver. 

The SAFE Act also created a new offense of knowingly possessing any magazine loaded with more than seven rounds of ammunition; New York Penal Law § 265.37. An exemption covers specified indoor or outdoor firing ranges or matches and collegiate, olympic or target shooting competition, but capacity cannot exceed ten rounds; see NY Penal Law § 265.20(7–f). However, this seven-round provision was held to be unconstitutional in New York State Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Cuomo, 990 F.Supp.2d 349 (W.D. N.Y. 2013), and on appeal, in New York State Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Cuomo, 804 F.3d 242 (2d Cir. 2015), the court agreed (concluding that New York had failed to provide evidence that a seven-round load limit would “best protect public safety”).

Range Protection

The owner of a shooting range may present an affirmative defense in any suit brought against it in which noise or noise pollution is claimed in the suit. NY Gen. Bus. Law § 150. 


1. In any action or proceeding commenced against an owner or user of a shooting range where one or more causes of action asserts a claim based on noise or noise pollution resulting from the inherent shooting activity on such shooting range, it shall be an affirmative defense that, at the time of the commencement of the action or proceeding, the shooting range is in compliance with any applicable noise control laws or ordinances, or, if the applicable noise control laws or ordinances have no legal force and effect against such owner or user or there are no applicable 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 at, or adjusted to, a distance of one hundred feet outside the real property boundary of the shooting range. An owner or user may move for judgment dismissing one or more causes of action asserted against him on the ground that a cause of action cannot be maintained because of such affirmative defense.

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

3. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions one and two of this section, no shooting range shall be operated during the period from 10:00 PM until 7:00 AM unless a local law or ordinance specifically authorizes the operation of a shooting range during all or any portion of such time period.

4. For the purposes of this section:

(a) “Shooting range” shall mean an outdoor range equipped with targets for use with firearms and shall include, but not be limited to, all rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges.

(b) “A-weighted sound level” shall mean the sound pressure level measured by the use of an instrument with the metering characteristics and A-weighting frequency response prescribed by sound level meters using the impulse response mode.

(c) “Sound pressure level” shall mean twenty times the logarithm to the base ten of the ratio of the root mean squared pressure of a sound to a reference pressure of twenty micropascals. The unit applied to this measure shall be the decibel (dB).

(d) “Small arms” shall mean projectile firearms of small caliber, including rifles, pistols, and shotguns.

Miscellaneous Provisions

As part of the NY SAFE Act, NY Penal Law § 265.45 was added to require the owner or other custodian of a firearm to safely store the firearm when he or she “resides” with an individual who the owner-custodian knows or has reason to know is prohibited from possessing a firearm under the listed sections of federal law, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1), (4), (8), (9) (note that the state law limits the application of the misdemeanor domestic violence offense in subs.(g)(9)). "Safe storage" requires the use of an “appropriate safe storage depository” (a safe or other secure container which, when locked, is incapable of being opened without the key, combination or other unlocking mechanism and is capable of preventing an unauthorized person from obtaining access), or rendering the firearm incapable of being fired by use of a gun-locking device appropriate to that weapon. A failure to comply with this requirement is a class A misdemeanor.


Any person lawfully in possession of a firearm, or a firearm and ammunition, who suffers the loss or theft of such firearm, or ammunition and firearm, is required to report the facts and circumstances of the loss or theft to a police department or sheriff’s office within 24 hours of the discovery of the loss or theft. NY Penal Law § 400.10(1)(a).

It is unlawful for any person, otherwise than in self defense or in furtherance of official duty, to

  • wilfully discharge any firearm, air-gun or other weapon, or throw any other deadly missile, either in a public place, or in any place where there is any person to be endangered thereby, or, in Putnam county, within one-quarter mile of any occupied school building other than under supervised instruction by properly authorized instructors although no injury to any person ensues;
  • intentionally, without malice, point or aim any firearm or any other gun, the propelling force of which is gunpowder, at or toward any other person;
  • discharge, without injury to another person, a gun, the propelling force of which is gunpowder, intentionally without malice, while the gun is aimed at or toward any person;
  • maim or injure another person by the discharge of any gun, the propelling force of which is gunpowder, pointed or aimed intentionally, but without malice, at any such person. NY Penal Law § 265.35(3).

It is also unlawful for any person to wilfully discharge a loaded gun, the propelling force of which is gunpowder, at:

  • an aircraft while such aircraft is in motion in the air, or in motion or stationary upon the ground,
  • at any railway or street railroad train as defined by the public service law, or 
  • at any railway or street railroad train as defined by the public service law, or at a locomotive, car, bus or vehicle standing or moving upon such railway, railroad or public highway. NY Penal Law § 265.35(2).

It is unlawful for any person to hunt with a dangerous weapon in any county wholly embraced within the territorial limits of a city. NY Penal Law § 265.35(1).

N.Y. Envtl. Conserv. Law § 11-0931 outlines certain additional restrictions. For example, no person except a law enforcement officer in the performance of his official duties shall use in hunting or possess in the fields or forests or on the waters of the state for any purpose, a silencer.  No person shall discharge a firearm, crossbow or long bow in such a way as will result in the load, bolt, or arrow passing over any part of a public highway, or discharge a firearm within 500 feet, a long bow within 150 feet, or a crossbow within 250 feet from a dwelling house, farm building or farm structure actually occupied or used, school building, school playground, public structure, or occupied factory or church.

It is a crime to remove, deface or alter the serial number or any other distinguishing number or identification mark on any handgun, rifle or shotgun, to knowingly buy, receive, dispose of, such a defaced firearm, or to knowingly possess a firearm which has been so defaced for the purpose of concealment or prevention of the detection of a crime or misrepresenting the identity of such firearm. NY Penal Law §§ 265.10(6) and (3), 265.02(3).  Possession of any firearm that has been defaced creates a legal presumption that the possessor committed the offense. NY Penal Law § 265.15(5).

Another presumption in New York law involves a firearm found in a vehicle. Its presence is presumptive evidence of its possession by all persons occupying the vehicle, except if:

  • the firearm is found upon the person of one of the occupants;
  • the firearm is found in a vehicle operated for hire by a duly licensed driver--then the presumption will not apply to the driver; or
  • the firearm is a handgun and one of the occupants has in his or her possession a valid license to have and carry concealed that handgun. NY Penal Law § 265.15(3).

It is an offense to knowingly possess any disguised gun, being any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, which is designed and intended to appear to be something other than a gun. NY Penal Law § 265.02(6).

It is an offense to knowingly possess a bullet containing an explosive substance designed to detonate upon impact, or to possess any armor-piercing ammunition with intent to use the same unlawfully against another. NY Penal Law §§ 265.01(7) and (8). “Armor piercing ammunition” means any ammunition capable of being used in handguns, containing a projectile or projectile core, or a projectile or projectile core for use in such ammunition, that is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of any of the following: tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or uranium. 


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

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.