Rules & Regulations Specific to NYC

It is your responsibility to make yourself aware of NY gun laws.

Types of Licenses
Premises License - Residence or Business (green):

This is a restricted handgun license, issued for a specific business or residence location. The handgun shall be safeguarded at the specific address indicated on the license. This license permits the transporting of an unloaded handgun directly to and from an authorized small arms range/shooting club, secured unloaded in a locked container. Ammunition shall be carried separately.

This permit allows you to possess a handgun in your home. You may keep it loaded and out while you are in your premises, but you must keep it in a locked box, with a trigger lock, with all ammunition stored separately when you are not at home, or while in transit. You are allowed to transport it to/from a gun range in the 5 boroughs. You may bring it out of NYC, into NY State if you have a Hunting Authorization card. Please note, the Hunting Authorization card is not the same thing as a hunting license. You cannot bring your guns out of state (see Beach v Kelly). You must own at least one handgun to maintain the license (you cannot get a premise license just to rent a gun at a range, or keep it anywhere other than your home). On a business permit, the gun must be kept at the business at all times (except when taking it to the range). Cost is $340.00 filing fee and $94.25 fingerprint fee ($105.25 for ink prints).

Carry Business License, Limited Carry Business License, Carry Guard License/Gun Custodian License, Special Licenses (yellow or red):

These allow either full carry (red) or limited carry (yellow). For limited carry, the limitations including the days/hours you are allowed to carry are printed on the license. These types of permits are only issued to those who show cause (or retired law enforcement). In most instances, unless you’re a celebrity (DeNiro and Howard Stern come to mind), an armed guard or employed protection agent, or transport large sums of cash, you won’t get a carry license. For those who think carrying cash justifies carrying concealed, know that you must show bank records proving that you carry at least $7,000.00 a week to even be considered for a business carry in NYC.

Rifle/Shotgun (brown) - allows you to possess a rifle or shotgun. Unlike the premise license, you do not need to own a gun after getting this license. Rifle/shotgun permits are issued by a different agency in a different location from handguns. It is a separate application process, and having one type of license has no bearing on the other. Cost is $140 filing fee and $94.25 fingerprint fee ($105.25 for ink prints). Yes, you will need to be fingerprinted again, even if you have a handgun license.

More Than 4 Handguns
NYC allows for up to 4 handguns on a premises license. Upon purchasing the 5th gun, you must prove you have a safe, and sign a waiver agreeing to spot inspections of your firearms in your home by the NYPD. There is no absolute limit on the number of guns you can own (at least none is stated anywhere I can find).

New Guns
Guns purchased new, must come with 2 spent casings from the manufacturer in a sealed envelope. These casings are then used for ballistic testing, the results of which are entered into a database. The thinking is that later, casings from a crime scene can be matched. To my knowledge however, not a single crime has ever been solved from this program (if you know otherwise, I’d love to hear about it). So far, it seems like a massive waste of taxpayer’s money.

You may not possess more than a total of 200 rounds of ammunition in your premises. Not 200 rounds of a certain caliber, not 200 rounds for each gun. Your total round count for all ammunition in your premises may not exceed 200 rounds. This is true for those with carry permits as well as premise permits. This is a NYC Fire Department regulation.

Magazine Capacity
Handguns cannot have a magazine capacity greater than 10 rounds, rifles and shotguns no greater than 5 rounds. Pre-ban mags are illegal in NYC, no exceptions. In NY State the burden of proof is on the possessor to demonstrate through appropriate documentation that they are pre-ban.

NYC does not recognize licenses from any other jurisdiction (NYS or otherwise), period. Do not enter NYC without a NYC license. This includes airports when traveling, even if you are in accordance with federal (FOPA) guidelines for “safe passage” of a firearm. Read the NRA warning (dead link - if anyone has a copy please send it to me) about traveling through NY airports, and the US Attorney General's response the this issue.

For those with NYC premises permits, you can only leave the 5 boroughs by obtaining a Hunting Authorization card. This card allows you to travel to “authorized” ranges and hunting grounds in NY State. Request the HAC when you pick up your license. This is not a hunting license. It is simply a card that allows you to travel outside of the 5 boroughs with your handgun(s). Some people have reported that when they requested the HAC, they were asked to show membership in a "hunting club" or have a valid hunting license. Others have been told to come back later because whoever was responsible for typing up the card was "too busy." I suggest politely and patiently standing your ground, and simply wait until they get you one. Otherwise, you may end up having to get a hunting license, which requires taking a hunter's education course.

Recent court decisions (see Beach v Kelly) hold that premises license holders can not go to another state via FOPA “safe passage” guidelines. You must obtain explicit permission from the NYPD to transport a firearm out of state with a NYC premises license. Beach v Kelly states FOPA (Firearm Owners Protection Act, “safe passage”) is not applicable.

Duty to Retreat/Castle Doctrine
NY State requires you to attempt retreat, whenever possible, before using deadly force. The court rulings on your duty to retreat are complex, in defining when, where and how one must retreat. I suggest further familiarization with them. NY State does not have a Castle Doctrine per se.

License Revocation
Some words of warning… bear in mind that a gun license in NYC is much like a lease. Technically, you do not own your guns. The NYPD does. If, for any reason, the NYPD finds reason to revoke your license (or you let it lapse), they can (and will) take possession of all of your firearms, regardless of the fact that you rightfully paid for them. Getting them back is much more difficult than making sure you do the right thing beforehand. Be smart. Stay abreast of the laws, and follow the regulations.

For more information, you can visit this thread on HKpro (thanks to MueveloNYC), which as of the time of writing was still being updated with information on NYC gun laws.

updated 2/28/10