New York requires any person licensed as a firearms dealer in the state (which does not include dealers selling only long guns1) to keep a record of every transaction involving handguns, short-barreled shotguns or rifles, and assault weapons, including the date, name, age, occupation and residence of any person who receives or delivers such guns, and the caliber, make, model, manufacturer’s name and serial number of the firearm.2 Before delivering such weapons to any person, the dealer must require the prospective transferee to produce either a valid license to carry or possess a handgun, or proof of exempt status. The dealer must then remove and retain the coupon attached to the license and enter in the record book the date of such license, the license number, and name of the licensing officer.3
The original transaction record must be forwarded to the Division of State Police within ten days of delivering a handgun, short-barreled shotgun or rifle, or assault weapon to any person, and the dealer must keep a duplicate. Effective January 15, 2014, the Superintendent of State Police may designate that such record must be completed and transmitted in electronic form. A dealer may be granted a waiver from transmitting such records in electronic form if the Superintendent determines that the dealer is incapable of such transmission due to technological limitations beyond the control of the dealer or other exceptional circumstances demonstrated by the dealer. The record book must be maintained on the premises described in the dealer’s license and must be open at all reasonable hours for inspection by law enforcement.4
New York law also requires anyone who intends to dispose of 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.5 (Wholesale dealers, gunsmiths and licensed firearms dealers are exempt from this provision.)
These requirements do not apply to standard length shotguns and rifles.
New York law requires that a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check be completed by a licensed firearms dealer before the sale, exchange, or disposal of any firearm, unless the transaction is between members of an immediate family. Upon completion of the background check by the licensed dealer, the dealer must finalize a document that identifies and confirms that a NICS check was performed. All dealers must maintain transaction records on their dealership premises and the records must be open at all reasonable hours for inspection by law enforcement. A dealer may charge a fee of up to $10 per transaction. Such records will not be considered a public record under New York Public Officers Law. A violation of these laws is punishable as a misdemeanor.6
Ammunition sellers and firearms dealers must, at the time of an ammunition sale or transfer, record the transaction details (date, name, age, occupation, and residence of anyone transferring or receiving ammunition and also the amount, caliber, manufacturer’s name and serial number or other distinguishing information) in a record book to be maintained on the seller’s premises and made available at all reasonable hours for inspection by any law enforcement officer. This information is not considered a public record.7
An ammunition seller or firearms dealer may not transfer any ammunition to anyone other than a licensed dealer unless the seller conducts a check against records maintained in the state’s electronic database and receives a number identifying the transaction and signifying that the transferee is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the ammunition.8
After the transfer, the transferee must indicate to the database that the transaction was completed at which time a record of the transaction, to be maintained for no longer than one year, will be made available to law enforcement but will not be made a part of the new firearms database for licenses and records or the new firearms registry. A record of the transaction may be shared with local law enforcement but will not be a public record. This requirement will not apply if the background check system is not operational or if a dealer or seller was issued a waiver from conducting a background check by the state police.9
The New York State Police Pistol Permit Bureau maintains a master database of all transaction records and pistol permits issued in the state. See the New York State Police Pistol Permit Bureau web site for an overview.
See our Maintaining Records of Gun Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.