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Gun Possession in New York

In order to own a gun, an individual must go through the correct process. In New York, an individual must have a permit to buy and carry a handgun. The permit process requires a thorough background check. If an individual is found in possession of a gun without a permit, they may face harsh consequences. A gun owner must not let another person use their gun. Failure to follow gun laws can put people in danger and require an individual to face consequences. It is important to understand the laws regarding gun possession in New York before purchasing one.

Obtaining a Permit

If a person wants to own a gun, they must have a permit. Gun permits let law enforcement monitor the buying and selling guns. It also lets them know why an individual owns a gun. Permits are useful in the event of a crime, as it allows law enforcement to track a gun that was used in a crime back to its owner.

The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE ACT) was created in 2013 to modernize the laws regarding guns and ammunition. The following changes were made:

  • Residents must have a permit to possess a handgun, but not a long gun (rifles and shotguns) outside New York City
  • Open carry of handguns is not permitted
  • Assault weapons banned unless registered before the NY Safe Act
  • Magazine size limited to 10 rounds
  • Ammunition dealers must conduct background checks and report all of their sales to the state
  • Online dealers must work with a state licensed dealer
  • Mental health professionals must report any serious threats from patients
  • Increased penalties for gun crimes
  • Permit renewal every 5 years


In order to apply for a gun permit, an individual must meet a number of requirements. These are as follows:

  • Over the age of 21, unless honorably discharged from the military
  • Not dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Not convicted of a felony or serious offense
  • Not previous gun license revoked
  • Not addicted to controlled substances
  • Must state if they suffered from or been treated for mental illness
  • Not committed to a mental institution involuntarily
  • Never had a guardian appointed due to lack of mental capacity
  • Never denounced their citizenship in the U.S.
  • Be in the United States lawfully
  • Have no clear reason for denial of a licenses

Consequences of Gun Crimes

Gun crimes are taken very seriously in New York. When a gun owner does not have a permit, they can face consequences for breaking the law. 

  • Possession of an unlicensed firearm is a felony
  • Possession of an assault weapon after the NY Safe Act is a felony
  • Possession of a large amount of ammunition magazine is a felony
  • Selling firearms without a license is illegal and considered a felony
  • A non-resident of New York transporting firearms throughout the state may be arrested

Contact our Firm

Kevin T. Conway has over 30 years of experience as a Spring Valley criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need a Rockland County criminal lawyer, contact our Spring Valley office for a free consultation.

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