Basic Gun Laws: New York

Basic Gun Laws: New York

(USCCA) – Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task you must undertake as an armed American. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in New York State below.

Getting a Permit

New York prohibits the possession of a “loaded” handgun outside of the home or place of business without a permit. While no law specifically bans open carry, a pistol license to carry is issued to concealed carry. An applicant must show that “proper cause” exists for the issuance of a carry license.

Concealed carry is only legal with a New York Pistol License (NYPL). The minimum age is 21, with the exception of honorably discharged members of the military, who can be any age. There are several types of NYPLs available, but the most commonly issued are the concealed carry and possess on premises licenses. NY doesn’t recognize permits/licenses from any other states. Only residents, part-time residents or anyone who is principally employed or has his or her principal place of business can obtain an NYPL.

An NYPL is not valid in the five counties that make up New York City (NYC). No handguns can be taken into NYC unless the city has validated the person’s license.

Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit. The possession of “self-defense sprays” by persons who are not felons, have not been convicted of an assault and are at least 18 years old for the protection of a person or property and otherwise lawful use is legal.

A concealed carry permit or a permit to possess a pistol or revolver is required to purchase a handgun. Private party transfers of handguns must be conducted through a licensed dealer who must conduct a background check. The individual must also provide documentation of the check to the New York State Police and keep a record of the transaction. A purchaser must be at least 21 years old to buy a handgun. All handguns must be registered. Although there is no specific waiting period prior to the purchase of a firearm in New York, all handgun purchasers must obtain an NYPL or permit to possess (such licenses/permits may take six months or more to process). Armor-piercing ammunition and any bullets containing an explosive substance designed to explode or detonate upon impact are prohibited.

Summary of New York Gun Laws

New York is a may-issue state with concealed weapons permits issued at the local level by the county sheriff or court system. Local law enforcement has discretion in determining whether or not to issue a concealed weapons permit to an applicant. An applicant must show that “proper cause” exists for the issuance of a carry license. 

A permit to purchase, a background check and firearms registration are required to buy a handgun from a private individual in New York. Private sales must be processed by a licensed firearms dealer. It is illegal to possess an unregistered handgun. 

New York prohibits the possession of a “loaded” handgun outside of the home or place of business without a permit. While no law specifically bans open carry, a pistol license to carry is issued to carry concealed. 

Concealed carry is only legal with a New York Pistol License (NYPL). The minimum age is 21, with the exception of honorably discharged members of the military, who can be any age. NY doesn’t recognize permits/licenses from any other states and only residents, part-time residents or anyone who is principally employed or has his or her principal place of business can obtain NYPLs. The one exception are pistol licenses from New York City, which are valid statewide. In addition, a NYPL is not valid in the five counties that make up New York City. No handguns can be taken into the city unless New York City has validated your license. No training is required to obtain a NYPL, except for residents of Westchester county. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and courthouses. There are several types of NYPLs available, but the most commonly issued are the concealed carry and possess on premises licenses. Both licenses can be endorsed with restrictions such as only to be carried during hunting or traveling to or from target practice. In terms of reciprocity, New York does not honor permits from any other states.

Self Defense

New York has a self-defense law based on the Castle Doctrine. In NY, a citizen has the duty to retreat from attackers if they feel they can safely do so.

Use of Physical Force
A person may use physical force in self-defense or defense of a third person, or in defense of premises, or in order to prevent larceny of or criminal mischief to property.  

A person may use physical force when the person reasonably believes it to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of a crime involving damage to premises, or to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass, larceny or of criminal mischief with respect to property. Any degree of physical force, other than deadly physical force can be used.

Use of Deadly Force
Deadly force can only be used if the actor reasonably believes that:

  • Another person is using or about to use deadly physical force.  However, the actor may not use deadly physical force if he or she can retreat with complete personal safety;  except that the actor has no duty to retreat if he or she is in his or her dwelling and not the initial aggressor;  or
  • Another person is committing or attempting to commit a kidnapping, forcible rape, forcible criminal sexual act or robbery;  or
  • Another person is committing or attempting to commit arson or a burglary, and the circumstances are such that the use of deadly physical force is authorized.

[N.Y. Pen. Law §§ 35.10, 35.15, 35.20 and 35.25]

Where Can One Carry in New York?

A concealed handgun can be carried in a vehicle based upon the terms of an NYPL only. Carry in a vehicle is not allowed without a permit.

Locations where a person with an NYPL can carry a concealed handgun include:

  • Restaurants that serve alcohol (unless posted)

Locations where carry is prohibited, even for NYPL permit holders, include:

  • Buildings or grounds used for educational purposes of any school, college or university
  • On the grounds of a residential child care facility
  • State parks, except for hunting purposes where permitted
  • Statue Cruises’ ferry service to Ellis Island and Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty National Monument
  • Public campgrounds (except during the spring and fall hunting seasons)
  • Lake George Battlefield Park
  • Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area (except during the small-game and big-game hunting seasons)
  • Specified trails on the Adirondack Mountain Reserve
  • Courthouses
  • Any facility of the Department of Mental Hygiene or any residential facility that 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 a special permit granting validity is issued by the police commissioner of that city)
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal or state law or regulation