See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
New York law requires a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check by a licensed firearms dealer prior to any transfer, sale, exchange, or disposal of a firearm, except between immediate family members. The dealer must provide a report of the NICS background check to the state.
A record of the NICS check must be maintained by the dealer (for no specified period) for inspection by any peace or police officer. The record is not considered a “public record.” A dealer may require that any transfer conducted under these provisions be subject to a fee of not more than $10.00. A violation of these provisions is punishable as a misdemeanor.1 A license to possess a handgun must specify each handgun the license holder owns.2 License holders who obtain additional handguns must apply to amend their licenses to specify those handguns, and license holders who sell or otherwise transfer their handguns must apply to cancel the listing of those handguns on their license.3
New York law requires anyone who intends to transfer a lawfully-possessed handgun, short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or assault weapon, to first notify in writing the State Police or, if appropriate, the licensing officer in New York City or Nassau or Suffolk Counties.4 Finally, New York law includes the following catch-all prohibition: “No person shall except as otherwise authorized pursuant to law dispose of any firearm unless he [or she] is licensed as gunsmith or dealer in firearms.”5
See Firearms Trafficking in New York for additional laws that limit private sales of firearms.