New York Gun Rights

An Overview of Gun Laws in New York

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Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

The State of New York does not have a true constitutional provision for the right to bear arms. However, the state’s Civil Rights Law includes the following provision: 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.

Concealed Carry

New York is a may-issue state, meaning authorities are not bound by law to issue concealed carry permits to qualified applicants.

Permits are issued at the discretion of the issuing officer in each county. While arbitrary denials for a permit can be overturned in court, the person applying for a carry permit must be able to show why he was wrongfully denied a permit.

Qualifications for a permit in New York include being at least 21 years old, of “good moral character,” and having a clean criminal record. Applicants must be able to demonstrate why they need carry permits (such as for hunting, target shooting or self-defense). A background check is required, and some counties also require successful completion of a handgun safety course. The cost for a permit varies by county, up to $10. Permits are valid for three years in New York City, five years in certain other counties, and for life in the remainder of the state.

New York’s concealed carry permits are honored by the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

New York does not honor carry permits from any state other than its own.

Castle Doctrine

New York has a self-defense law based on the castle doctrine, but it is considered weaker than castle doctrine laws in other states. In New York, a duty to retreat exists in any place outside one’s home. Within the home, the statute authorizes deadly force as long as the resident is not the initial aggressor.

Outside the home, however, persons must retreat from attackers if they can do so safely.

With respect to victims who are inside their own home, New York’s law states in part:

A person in possession or control of, or licensed or privileged to   be in, a dwelling or an occupied building, who reasonably believes  that another  person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling or building, may use deadly  physical  force  upon  such  other person  when  he  or  she  reasonably  believes  such to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission  or  attempted  commission  of  such burglary.

Pro-Gun Provisions

With the exception of a law protecting gun ranges, New York has few pro-gun provisions on the books. Open carry is prohibited, and even gun owners with carry permits cannot carry loaded rifles or shotguns inside their vehicles.


Gun bans: New York has a ban on assault weapons. The state also bans all magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition that have been manufactured since September 1994. Because a federal requirement that the date of manufacture be stamped on all large-capacity magazines expired with the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004, the large magazine ban in New York is difficult to enforce because it can be hard to prove when the magazines were manufactured.

By the same token, anyone possessing a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds is subject to felony charges if they aren’t certain the magazine was manufactured prior to 1994.

Waiting periods for gun purchases: None.

License or permit to purchase guns: A license is required for handgun purchases. In some counties, a safety course is required before a license to purchase a handgun is issued. In New York City, permits are also required to purchase rifles or shotguns.

Registration of guns: All handguns are required to be registered with the state. In New York City, long guns must also be registered.