New York has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, earning an A- in our Annual Gun Law Scorecard. The state serves as a national model for developing and investing in community violence prevention and intervention programs. In 2017, New York had the third-lowest gun death rate in the country and the second-lowest crime gun export rate. To continue to improve its gun safety efforts, New York legislators could increase funding for community violence intervention programs and strengthen its laws regulating undetectable and untraceable firearms (also known as ghost guns).

State Law Background

Among other things, New York:

  • Requires all private firearm sales, including those at a gun show, to be processed through a licensed dealer, who conducts a background check;
  • Requires firearms dealers to obtain a state license;
  • Bans most assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines;
  • Requires anyone purchasing or possessing a handgun to first obtain a license, after a background check, and requires the license to specify all the handguns owned by the license holder;
  • Requires firearm owners to report lost or stolen firearms or ammunition to law enforcement;
  • Prohibits the manufacture and assembly of certain “unsafe handguns”;
  • Regulates ammunition sales by requiring that sales be conducted through a licensed dealer and only after a background check is conducted on the purchaser.  Ammunition sales must generally be conducted in person;
  • Requires that safe storage practices be used by a person who lives with someone who is prohibited from possessing a firearm; and
  • Maintains a statewide database of firearms licenses and records related to convictions, mental health, protective orders, and other factors that would affect the possession of firearms.

New York does not impose a waiting period prior to the purchase of a firearm (although it may take up to six months to obtain a license to purchase a handgun).

Local governments in New York possess authority to regulate firearms or ammunition, and local law enforcement has discretion regarding whether to issue or deny a concealed handgun permit.

In 2017, New York had the third lowest gun death rate among the states. Far more crime guns are trafficked into New York than out of the state. In 2017, New York had the second lowest rate of crime gun exports and the 18th highest rate of crime gun imports.

New York Firearms Laws

For details about specific firearms laws in New York, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.