For our first foray into firearm laws we are tackling the big city and state: New York. New York. A state with some of the strictest gun possession and gun storage laws in all of the United States, New York also has special laws that must be adhered to in New York City that do not apply to the rest of the state. It is a state that requires secure weapon storage in certain circumstances, which we will go over later. Generally you will need a license that includes a background check if you want to have a firearm in New York.
Before we go into specific laws dictating firearm possession and storage let’s look at laws concerning weapons in New York City because maybe you happened upon this page looking for ways to defend yourself but do not want to own a gun. Unfortunately, Tasers, electric stun guns or electronic dart guns are all illegal to own in New York. If you live in one of the 45 other states where Taser possession is legal, you can look at secure taser storage to make yourself feel safer in possessing one. To find out if you are allowed a Taser in your state look here.
New York requires anyone who wants to purchase a handgun or pistol to apply for a license in the city or county in which they reside. A handgun license from New York State is not valid for possession of a handgun if you live or move to New York City. If you live in New York City you will need a special license from New York City’s police commissioner. Additionally, you will have to register all handguns you purchase with the New York City Police department.
Rifle and Shotgun Laws
If you live in New York City you will need a permit from the police department to own a rifle or shotgun (or handgun). If you live anywhere in the rest of New York State you do not need a license to purchase a rifle or shotgun and furthermore you do not need to register it either.
Assault Weapon Laws
Even though you can own a rifle in New York there are certain types of rifles, pistols and shotguns that are prohibited even if you have a license. These firearms are classified as assault weapons and there are very specific definitions to them. For a full overview of how to determine if the firearm you are looking to purchase is considered a so-called assault weapon or not see definition below.
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle or carbine firing ammunition
with muzzle energies intermediate between those typical of pistol and battle
rifle ammunition. Assault rifles are categorized between light machine guns,
intended more for sustained automatic fire in a support role, and submachine guns, which fire a handgun cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge. Assault rifles are the
standard small arms in most modern armies, having largely replaced or supplemented larger, more powerful battle rifles, such as the World
War II-era M1 Garand and Tokarev SVT. Examples of assault rifles include the AK-47 and the M16 rifle. Semi-automatic rifles, including commercial versions of the AR-15, and “automatic” rifles limited to firing single shots are not assault rifles as they are not selective fire. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with very limited capacity fixed magazines are also generally not considered assault rifles.
For carrying your firearm, transporting it through New York or going to your range a good rule of thumb is to transport it unloaded. If it is a handgun you want to carry on your person you will also need a carry license.
If you are an individual from out of New York State wanting to travel through or to anywhere in New York with your firearm you may, but with strict rules. First, while you are in New York your firearm must be unloaded. Second, your ammunition and firearm must be in two separate areas of the vehicle so that both are not easily accessible to people in the vehicle. It is considered a separate area if it is stored in a secure weapon case.
New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States and New York City proper has different laws. It never hurts to give the local government a call to inquire about fiream laws in their area, they are the best resource and weapon safety is important to everyone.