If you’re a Keystone State resident who works or lives part-time in New York, a gun license is necessary if you want to take your handgun with you to participate in shooting sports, practice at the range, or make sure you have the self-defense tool you may need to protect your life or property. The state of New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. Understanding how to work within the laws as a responsible gun owner not only lets you protect yourself but also protects and promotes the second amendment rights we all enjoy under the United States Constitution. Find out how you can legally possess or carry your latest Eagle Shows firearm find when you visit New York.

New York In Brief

In many ways, New York is one state while New York City operates under a different set of rules when it comes to firearms. This article is dealing primarily with New York state firearms laws and procedures, and additional restrictions and requirements will apply if you plan on entering New York City. As an example, a gun license from New York state is not valid in the Big Apple without a New York City endorsement.

Rifles with barrels over 16” and shotguns with 18” or longer barrels do not require a license at the state level to own or possess in your home. While most of these guns won’t need registration, those deemed to be “assault weapons” under New York’s SAFE Act, meaning they have one or more banned features, will need to be registered with the state. Handguns require a Pistol License to own, possess, transport, or carry. Transporting loaded firearms of any kind other than handguns with the proper license is strictly prohibited.

New York Pistol License Breakdown

Unlike some states with a single gun license, in New York, there are multiple types of pistol licenses you can apply for based on your situation. Pistol licenses are only available to those who have a primary place of business or a residence in New York, and applications are made directly to the licensing officer in the county where you work or live part-time. Under New York’s “may issue” statute, this officer has wide discretion to approve or deny your application, so making sure you understand and communicate your license request and the reasoning behind it clearly is vital. The most common New York gun licenses sought by people in Pennsylvania are:

How To Get Licensed

Getting a gun license in New York state starts with contacting the licensing officer in the county you’re applying through. This will usually be a judge with the paperwork starting in the county sheriff’s office, although some counties may initiate proceedings through their county clerk’s office instead. Visit their website or call and talk to them about their particular requirements as some counties have guidelines not shared by others. For instance, many counties require a firearms safety class prior to application, and you will want to know what their standards are for acceptable certification and documentation. Most will follow this general procedure:

  1. Get your firearms safety certification (if required).- Usually consisting of a mix of classroom and range time, these programs are fairly standard, a decent refresher of Gun Safety 101 principles, and you get to show off your favorite pistol and squeeze off some rounds.
  2. Download the New York gun license forms from the state and county. – There is a single state form, however, most counties have their own additional form which covers much of the same information.
  3. Gather your character references and two 2” by 2” photos. – Local law enforcement officers, community leaders, and clergy within the county you’re applying to make good references to support your high moral character. Many pharmacies, post offices, and photo kiosks offer passport photos of the appropriate size.
  4. Submit your application in person and get your fingerprints taken. – The provided information and your fingerprints will be used to perform a variety of background checks and an interview will be conducted with local authorities. 
  5. Your application will be submitted for review and you’ll receive your approval or denial in the mail. – The licensing judge will review the final packet of information and make their determination. The state recommends expecting at least four months for approval while some counties suggest that you anticipate a longer time period.

Make Sure You’re Ready

A gun license in New York gives you the legal right to own and possess a pistol, but you have the responsibility to make sure you can store, carry, and use it safely. At Pennsylvania’s largest gun show, you’ll find a range of firearms and accessories that support your constitutional rights. Your local Pennsylvania gun show is the best place to pick up premium ammunition, quality concealed carry holsters, gun safes, and cleaning supplies to ensure that you have everything you need in one location. Check out our upcoming events and get your tickets to an Eagle Shows gun show near you.

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