Can I Legally Carry a Gun in New York?
New York is notorious for its tough gun laws, so it’s common for people to ask, “can I legally carry a gun in New York?”
The very short answer to that question is, “yes, you can, so long as you have the proper permitting.” That said, there are exceptions to where you can legally carry a gun, there are many different sorts of permits, and New York City has its own permitting process that gun owners must go through to legally possess a gun inside of New York City.
Gun laws are very complicated in New York, so if you have been charged with a gun offense, it’s important to speak to an attorney who is experienced with gun charges and can assess your unique situation. With that caveat out of the way, I’m going to broadly go over gun laws in New York State and New York City.
Before I get into the general licensing requirements for possessing guns in New York State and New York City, I’ll first mention locations where guns are not allowed, even if you have a permit. For obvious reasons, these restrictions don’t apply to law enforcement. You are restricted from carrying a gun in:
- Bars or restaurants that serve alcohol
- National parks
- State parks
- Roadside rest areas
- Certain sensitive locations like Times Square
In addition to these locations where you cannot possess a gun even if licensed, there are also sorts of weapons and ammunition that are banned, even if you have a permit. These include:
- Assault weapons
- Magazines that carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition
- Armor-piercing ammunition
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New York State
I’m now going to discuss the licensing requirements in New York State. Although New York City is obviously in New York State, I am not including New York City when I talk about New York State gun laws, because New York City has separate regulations that apply to the possession of guns in New York City.
In New York State you do not need a license to possess a rifle or shotgun, so long as the rifle has a barrel of at least 16 inches, and the shotgun has a barrel at least 18 inches in length.
To possess a handgun in New York State, you do need to obtain a permit. Prior to the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision of New York State Rifle & Pistol Associations v. Bruen, it was very difficult for most people to get a license to carry a handgun or pistol in New York State. To obtain a license to carry a pistol or handgun, an applicant needed to demonstrate a special need for protection that was more than a general desire for self-defense. In other words, a person had to articulate why they had a unique risk that warranted them possessing a firearm. For instance, people who might more commonly receive death threats—like celebrities or politicians—would be more likely to get approval for a handgun license.
After the Bruen U.S. Supreme Court decision, applicants don’t need to cite a specific threat or reason why they are uniquely at risk to get a handgun license. However, New York State did respond to the U.S. Supreme Court decision by creating a few additional requirements to get a handgun permit, including mandatory training, character references, and disclosure of social media accounts.
It’s important to note that, even if you are licensed to possess a handgun in a different state, New York State does not grant reciprocity. So, you cannot possess a gun in New York State, or New York City, for that matter, even if you are licensed to possess a handgun in a different state.
Although federal law allows people to transport guns through states even if they don’t have a license for a particular state, you should be certain to store your gun and ammunition in separate, locked containers that are not within reach while you are driving. So, let’s say you are licensed to possess a gun in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and you need t drive through New York State to get from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, or vice-versa. You should be sure to put your unloaded firearms in locked containers and your ammunition is separate locked containers, all of which are out of your reach while you are transporting the firearms through the state.
New York City
In New York City, you need a license to possess any sort of gun. For instance, although you don’t need a license to possess a rifle or shotgun, you need a license to possess those in New York City.
New York City gun licenses are issued by the New York City Police Department. Many different types of firearm licenses exist in New York City. If you have any type of New York City firearm license, you should closely examine the terms of your license to thoroughly understand where you are allowed to legally possess your firearms. It’s worth mentioning that NYC gun licenses do not allow you to carry guns outside of New York City. So, if you have an NYC gun license and wish to take a handgun to upstate New York, you will need a New York State gun license to do so.
Some common types of NYC firearms licenses include a premise license, a carry business license, a limited carry business license, a special carry license, a carry guard license.
If you have been charged with a gun crime in New York, give me a call for a free consultation. I can assess your case to determine any defenses that may exist so that you can strategically navigate your case.