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New York Gun Control Laws

New York has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, especially after the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 -- commonly known as the NY SAFE Act — was enacted in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down most of New York's restrictions on carrying handguns in public in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.

In July 2022, New York responded with legislation imposing new restrictions in its Concealed Carry Improvement Act. In October 2022, a federal district court temporarily blocked the new law. A few days later, a federal appeals court granted New York emergency relief, allowed the Concealed Carry Improvement Act to go into effect, and sent the law back to the district court for further consideration. 

New York Gun Control Laws At A Glance

For more information about gun control laws in New York, see the table below.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

New York Penal Law, Chapter 40, Article 265, Sections 265.00 through 265.55; Article 400, Sections 400.00 through 400.20
  • Definitions - Section 265.00
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree - Section 265.01
  • Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds - Section 265.01-a
  • Criminal possession of a firearm - Section 265.01-b
  • Criminal possession of a rapid-fire modification device - Section 265.01-c
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree - Section 265.02
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree - Section 265.03
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree - Section 265.04
  • Licenses to carry, possess, repair, and dispose of firearms - Section 400.00
  • Criminal possession of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun in a sensitive place - Section 265.01-e
  • Criminal possession of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun in a restricted location - Section 265.01-d

Illegal Arms

  • In general, it is illegal to possess machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and short-barreled shotguns in New York. 
  • It is also illegal to possess a firearm, rifle, or shotgun in a "sensitive area" (defined below) or on private property if the owner or lessee hasn't given express consent

Waiting Period

New York does not have a waiting period to purchase a gun, but a person must obtain a license to purchase a handgun.

Who May Not Own

A firearm license is required for handguns in New York, and a person must comply with the licensing requirements to possess a handgun. New York also prohibits people from possessing a long gun if they have been convicted of a serious offense as defined in Section 265.00 or if they have been certified not suitable to possess a self-defense spray device, a rifle, or shotgun by the director or physician in charge of any hospital or institution for mental illness.

License Required?

A license is required to possess a handgun in New York. It's worth noting that New York City has its own separate gun laws and that not all gun permits are automatically valid statewide.

Concealed Carry License Required?

New York requires a license to carry a concealed firearm and prohibits concealed carry in "sensitive locations." Sensitive locations include:
  • Airports
  • Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol
  • Courthouses
  • Daycare facilities, playgrounds, and other locations where children gather
  • Educational Institutions
  • Emergency shelters, including domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters
  • Entertainment venues
  • Federal, state, and local government buildings
  • Health and medical facilities
  • Houses of worship
  • Libraries
  • Polling sites
  • Public demonstrations and rallies
  • Public transportation including subways and buses
  • Times Square

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry of handguns is not permitted, but New York has no law restricting the open carrying of long guns in public.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

To obtain a license to carry a firearm, a person must:
  • Be 21 years old or older
  • Be of good moral character, which means having the "essential character, temperament, and judgement necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger oneself or others"
  • Not have been convicted of or have an arrest warrant for a felony or a serious offense
  • Not be a fugitive from justice
  • Not be an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Not be an alien who is unlawfully in the United States or who has a nonimmigrant visa
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Not have renounced the person's citizenship
  • Not have stated whether they have ever suffered any mental illness
  • Not have 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
  • Not have had a license revoked or who is not under a suspension or ineligibility under a domestic violence restraining order
  • Successfully complete a firearms safety course and test 
  • Not have had a guardian appointed based on a determination that as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incompetence, incapacity, condition, or disease, they lack the mental capacity to contract or manage their own affairs
  • Not have any other good cause to deny the license.

Machine Gun Laws

New York prohibits the possession of machine guns.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

New York has a long list of gun laws and they are complicated. The potential penalties depend on the specific offense. Gun offenses can be anywhere from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 1-year imprisonment and up to a $1,000 fine. A class B felony is punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds is a class E felony and is punishable by up to 4 years imprisonment.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Additional Resources for New York Gun Control Laws

For additional information and resources related to New York gun control laws, see the links below:

Have Questions or Concerns About Gun Laws in New York? An Attorney Can Help

With such a complex set of laws on the books, most everyone will need the help of a professional when dealing with gun laws in the state of New York. If you have questions or have been charged under one of New York's many gun control laws, there are experienced criminal defense attorneys in your area who can give you peace of mind.

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