Ammunition Regulation in New York

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

New York law defines a “Seller of ammunition,” as any person, firm or corporate entity engaging in the business of purchasing, selling, or keeping ammunition.  This does not apply to private sellers.1

Licensing of Ammunition Sellers

Ammunition sellers in New York must register with the state police, except for ammunition sellers who are already validly licensed firearms dealers.  Ammunition sales are prohibited except through licensed dealers or registered sellers of ammunition.  The transfer of ammunition must occur in person.2

Record Retention Requirement for Ammunition Sales

Ammunition sellers and firearms dealers must, at the time of a transaction, record the transaction details (date, name, age, occupation, and residences 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 premises and made available for inspection by any law enforcement officer.  This information is not considered a public record.3

Background Checks Before Transfer of Ammunition

An ammunition seller or firearms dealer may not transfer any ammunition to anyone other than a licensed dealer unless he or she 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 firearm or ammunition.4 The ammunition seller or gun dealer must also check a valid driver’s license or other photo identification of the prospective purchaser prior to transfer.

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.5

Minimum Age to Purchase/Possess Ammunition

New York prohibits the possession of ammunition by any person under age 16.6 Federal law imposes additional age restrictions.

Regulation of Unreasonably Dangerous Ammunition

New York prohibits the possession of armor piercing ammunition with the intent to use it unlawfully against another.7 “Armor piercing ammunition” is any ammunition capable of being used in handguns that contains a projectile or projectile core constructed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or uranium.8

New York generally prohibits any person from knowingly possessing any bullet containing an explosive substance designed to explode or detonate upon impact.9

License to Purchase Handgun Ammunition

A firearms dealer may not sell any ammunition designed exclusively for use in a handgun to any person who is not authorized to possess a pistol or revolver.10 See Licensing of Gun Owners in New York for further information.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(24). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(7). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(2). ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(3), (4). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(5). ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.05. ⤴︎
  7. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01(8). ⤴︎
  8. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(18). ⤴︎
  9. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01(7). ⤴︎
  10. N.Y. Penal Law § 270.00(5). ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in New York

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

New York’s assault weapon law prohibits manufacturing, transporting, disposing of or possessing an assault weapon in the state.1

An assault weapon is defined as:

• A semi-automatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

o A folding or telescoping stock;

o A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

o A thumbhole stock;

o A second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

o A bayonet mount;

o A flash suppressor, muzzle break, muzzle compensator,  or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle break, or muzzle compensator;

o A grenade launcher; or

• A semi-automatic shotgun that has at least one of the following characteristics:

o A folding or telescoping stock;

o A thumbhole stock;

o A second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

o A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

o A fixed magazine capacity in excess of seven rounds;

o An ability to accept a detachable magazine; or

• A semi-automatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

o A folding or telescoping stock;

o A thumbhole stock;

o A second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

o Capacity to accept an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

o A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;

o A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned;

o A manufactured weight of fifty ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded;

o A semi-automatic version of an automatic rifle, shotgun or handgun; or

• A revolving cylinder shotgun;

• A semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic shotgun or a semiautomatic pistol or other weapon as defined by New York Penal Law § 265.00(22)(e)(v) as that section read under the laws of 2000 and otherwise lawfully possessed prior to September 14, 1994; or

• A semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic shotgun or a semiautomatic pistol that qualifies as an assault weapon as defined above and possessed prior to January 15, 2013.2

The term “assault weapon” does not include:

• Any rifle, shotgun or pistol that:

o Is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action;

o Has been rendered permanently inoperable; or

o Is an antique firearm as defined by federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(16);

• A semi-automatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition;

• A semi-automatic shotgun that cannot hold more than five rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine;

• A rifle, shotgun or pistol, or a replica or a duplicate thereof, specified in Appendix A to 18 U.S.C. § 922 as such weapon was manufactured on October 1, 1993.  The mere fact that a weapon is not listed in Appendix A shall not be construed to mean that such weapon is an assault weapon;

• Any weapon validly registered pursuant to New York Penal law § 400.00(16)(a); or

• Any handgun, rifle, or shotgun that was manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including a replica thereof that is validly registered pursuant to N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(16-a).

Any semiautomatic rifle, semiautomatic shotgun, or semiautomatic pistol qualifying as an assault weapon, as defined above, that was legally possessed prior to January 15, 2013, may only be sold to, exchanged with or disposed of to a purchaser authorized to possess such weapon or to an individual or entity outside the state provided that any such transfer outside of the state must be reported to the entity wherein the weapon is registered within 72 hours of such transfer.  A person who transfers any such weapon to a person inside New York without complying with these requirements is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.3

An owner of an assault weapon, as defined above, which was possessed before January 15, 2013, must make an application to register the assault weapon with the Superintendent of State Police, in a manner to be prescribed by the Superintendent, or by amending an issued firearms license on or before January 15, 2014.  Registration information must include the registrant’s name, date of birth, gender, race, residential address, social security number, and a description of each weapon being registered.  Registration will not be valid if the registrant is prohibited or becomes prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to state or federal law.

The Superintendent must determine whether such registrant is prohibited from possessing a firearm, but such check must be limited to determining whether the factors in 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) apply or whether a registrant has been convicted of a serious offense as defined in New York Penal Code § 265.00(16-b), and whether a report has been issued pursuant to New York Mental Hygiene Law § 9.46, concerning patients that present a serious risk to self or others.

All registrants must recertify to the Division of State Police every five years.  Failure to recertify will result in a revocation of the registration.4

A person who knowingly fails to apply to register an assault weapon on or before January 15, 2014, will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.  A person unknowingly failing to register an assault weapon within the time period provided by statute must be given a warning by an appropriate law enforcement authority about this failure and given 30 days in which to apply to register or surrender the weapon.  A failure to do so within 30 days will result in the weapon being declared a nuisance and removed by an appropriate law enforcement authority.5

Educating the Public

The Superintendent of State Police must create and maintain an internet website to educate the public as to which semiautomatic rifle, semiautomatic shotgun, or semiautomatic pistol or other weapons are illegal under these provisions.  The website must contain information to assist the public in recognizing the relevant features proscribed by these provisions, as well the make and model of weapons requiring registration.6

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.02(7), 265.10. ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(22)(f). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(22)(h). ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(22)(g). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(16-a)(a). ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(16-a)(c). ⤴︎

Background Checks in New York

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

New York is not a point of contact state for the NICS.  As a result, in New York, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.

Background Checks for Firearm Transfers

New York law requires that a NICS background 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 confirms that such a check was performed.  All dealers must maintain transaction records on their 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 $10.00 per transaction.  Such records will not be considered a public record under New York Public Officers Law.  Finally, any violations of these laws are punishable as a misdemeanor.1

Background Checks for Ammunition Transfers

Effective January 15, 2014, a seller of ammunition in New York cannot transfer ammunition to anyone other than a licensed firearms dealer unless the ammunition seller verifies the identity of the transferee by examining a valid state identification document (such as driver’s license) and contacts the statewide license and record database and provides the database with sufficient information to confirm that the transferee is eligible to possess ammunition.  If the transferee is eligible to possess ammunition, the database will provide the seller with a unique identification number that corresponds to the transfer.  This requirement will not apply if the background check cannot be completed because the system is not operational or cannot be accessed because of technical error.2

As of January 15, 2014, New York law establishes a statewide license and record database which is to be created and maintained by the Division of State Police.  Records of granted licenses must be periodically checked by the Division of Criminal Justice Services against criminal conviction, mental health, and all other records necessary to determine their continued accuracy and whether the person is still a valid license holder.  The Division of Criminal Justice Services must also check pending firearm license applications using the statewide database to determine whether a license may be granted.  All state agencies must cooperate in making their records available for such checks.3

See Retention of Sales & Background Check Records in New York for related information.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law Art. 39-DDD § 898. ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(3), (5). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.02. ⤴︎

Child Access Prevention in New York

New York has no law specifically penalizing a person who enables a child to access a firearm.1

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. New York penalizes transferring a firearm to a person who is or reasonably appears to be less than nineteen years of age only if the seller is not legally authorized to possess a firearm. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.16. See  Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Firearms in New York for further information. ⤴︎

Concealed Weapons Permitting in New York

See our Concealed Weapons Permitting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

New York prohibits the possession of a loaded handgun, short-barreled shotgun or rifle, or a loaded or unloaded assault weapon outside of the home or place of business without a license.1 The term “loaded firearm” includes any firearm possessed by a person who also possesses any ammunition which may be discharged by the firearm, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded.2

New York is a “may issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement has discretion in determining whether to issue a concealed weapons license to an applicant. A license to carry a concealed handgun may be granted by the appropriate licensing authority on the same basis as a license to possess a handgun (see Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New York), except that those seeking to carry a handgun without regard to employment or place of possession must show “proper cause.”3

Licenses to carry a handgun held by persons who are later convicted of a felony or serious offense are automatically revoked upon conviction.4 In certain situations, a court issuing a domestic violence order of protection or finding that an individual violated an order of protection must revoke the individual’s license to carry a handgun or, if none exists, order the individual ineligible for a license.5

Firearm Safety Training

New York does not generally require applicants for a license to carry a handgun to undergo firearm safety training. However, in the county of Westchester, at the time of application, the licensing officer to which the license application is made must provide a copy of the safety course booklet to each license applicant.6 Before the license is issued, the licensing officer must require that the applicant submit a certificate of successful completion of a firearms safety course and test affirmed by a duly authorized instructor.7 Note that these requirements apply to all handgun licensees in the county of Westchester, not just those for a license to carry a handgun.

Duration & Renewal

Licenses are generally valid until revoked, but have a fixed duration in New York City (three years) and in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties (five years).8

Disclosure or Use of Information

New York has no specific laws relating to the disclosure or use of information collected from licensees and applicants.

Reciprocity

No relevant statutes currently exist, indicating that New York does not recognize concealed weapons permits issued in other states.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.02(7), 265.03(3). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(15). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f). ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(11). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Family Ct. Act § 842-a. Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension or disqualification information, are detailed under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(3), (4), (4-a), and (7). ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(1)(f), (4-b). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(10). ⤴︎

Dealer Regulations in New York

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

New York law requires those who engage “in the business of purchasing, selling, keeping for sale, loaning, leasing, or in any manner disposing of, any assault weapon, large capacity ammunition feeding device, pistol or revolver” to obtain a state license in order to conduct business.1 Applications must be submitted in the city or county where the business is located.2 Applicants go through the same background check process as those seeking to carry or possess handguns (see Licensing of Gun Owners in New York). New York does not require sellers of long guns only (rifles and shotguns) to obtain a state license.

A firearms dealer license must describe the premises for which it is issued, be valid in that location and be displayed prominently on the premises.3 A licensed dealer may conduct business temporarily at a gun show or event sponsored by any organization devoted to the collection, competitive use or other sporting use of firearms, however.4 A firearms dealer license is valid for up to three years from the date of issuance.5

For information about the New York law:

• Requiring a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm, see Locking Devices in New York.

• Limiting sales of ammunition, see Ammunition Regulation in New York.

• Requiring federally licensed dealers to conduct background checks on firearm purchasers, see Background Checks in New York.

• Requiring dealers to maintain records of sales, see Retention of Sales / Background Check Records in New York.

• Involving dealers’ obligations regarding New York’s “Combined Ballistic Identification System,” see Microstamping/Ballistic Identification in New York.

• Applicable to both licensed and private firearm sellers, see Private Sales in New York.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.00(9), 400.00(2 ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(3). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(7), (8). ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(8). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(10). ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in New York

In New York, the Superintendent of State Police (Superintendent) is authorized to issue rules and regulations reasonably necessary to prevent the manufacture and assembly of unsafe handguns, short-barreled shotguns or rifles, and assault weapons.1 Pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Superintendent, a person who is engaged in the business of manufacturing or assembling handguns must obtain a certificate of compliance for each specific handgun model he or she wishes to manufacture or assemble in New York.2  Certificates of compliance are granted subject to a prototype of the handgun passing a series of tests. If the handgun does not perform satisfactorily during the tests, the certificate will be revoked or suspended to allow the manufacturer to remedy the deficiency.3 The prototype must meet requirements based on materials and parts, and safe functioning.4

Material and parts requirements include:

• Basic structural component specifications including melting point and tensile strength;
• An absence of cracks, bulges or splits in or on the barrel, chambers of the cylinder, slide, cylinder-frame and/or receiver after firing;
• The existence of safety devices to prevent firing;
• A specified amount of space between the barrel and cylinder in a revolver after firing; and
• A specified chamber diameter.5

Safe functioning tests include:

• A proof test which includes visual examination of a cartridge after firing to ensure there are no splits or other defects;
• An endurance test consisting of firing 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a test of the safety device after all firing is completed; and
• A drop test, performed a total of five times after the endurance test is complete, to determine whether the safety device will withstand the impact of a weight equal to that of a firearm dropping from a distance of 36 inches.6

In addition, members of the state police must be permitted on any business day, during business hours, to inspect a manufacturer’s premises and records pertaining to the firearms manufactured or assembled within the premises.7 The purpose of such inspections is to ensure that the manufacture and assembly of firearms are being conducted in accordance with the certificate of compliance.8

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(12-a). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.2. ⤴︎
  3. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.3. ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, §§ 482.5 and 482.6. ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.5. ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.6. ⤴︎
  7. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.4. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited Persons in New York

New York allows a prohibited individual to voluntarily surrender firearms to a designated local law enforcement agency with immunity from the charge of illegal firearm possession.1

New York law declares any firearm unlawfully possessed to be a nuisance,2 and sets out the procedure that must be used if such a firearm comes into the possession of any police officer or peace officer.3

New York law states that the conviction of a firearms licensee for a felony or “serious offense” operates as a revocation of the license.  A revocation of the license also occurs if the licensee, at any time, becomes ineligible to receive a license under New York law.  An official revoking a license must “notify immediately the duly constituted police authorities of the locality,” and must give written notice to the executive department of the division of state police.4

New York law requires mental health professionals to make a report to law enforcement authorities if an individual they are treating is, in their judgment, likely to engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to themselves or to others.  The Department of Criminal Justice Services, when it determines that any person named in such a report possesses a license to carry a firearm, should inform “the appropriate licensing official” who must then issue an order to suspend or revoke the license.5

Where a defendant is found (by verdict or plea) to be not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect or to be “incapacitated” as defined by New York law, the court must revoke the defendant’s firearm license and inquire about the existence and location of any firearms in the defendant’s possession.  The court must direct the surrender of any such firearms.6

Where a defendant is convicted of an offense which would require the seizure of firearms or the revocation of a firearms license, the judge pronouncing the sentence must demand surrender of any such license and of all firearms.7

Surrender of Firearms Upon Issuance of a Domestic Violence Protective Order

Temporary Protective Order

Whenever a family court issues a temporary protective order, the court must suspend the respondent’s license, declare the respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the immediate surrender of all firearms, when the court has good cause to believe that:  1) the respondent has a prior conviction of any “violent felony offense”; 2) the defendant was previously found to have willfully violated a protective order and the violation involved the infliction of physical injury, the threatened use of a deadly weapon, or the commission of a “violent felony offense”; or 3) the respondent has a conviction for stalking.  The court must also suspend respondent’s firearm license, declare respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the surrender of all firearms where the court finds a substantial risk that the respondent may use or threaten to use a firearm against the person protected by the protective order.8

Protective Order

Whenever a family court issues a protective order, the court must revoke the respondent’s license, declare the respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the immediate surrender of all firearms, when the court finds that the conduct which resulted in the issuance of the protective order involved:  1) the infliction of physical injury; 2) the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon; or 3) behavior constituting any “violent felony offense.”  The court must also suspend or revoke respondent’s firearm license, declare respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the surrender of all firearms where the court finds a substantial risk that the respondent may use or threaten to use a firearm against the person protected by the protection order.9

Failure to Obey Protective Order or Temporary Protective Order

Whenever a respondent is found to have willfully failed to obey a protective order or temporary protective order, the court shall revoke any existing firearms license possessed by respondent, declare the respondent ineligible for such a license, and order the immediate surrender of all firearms, where the willful violation of the order involved: 1) the infliction of physical injury; 2) the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon; 3) behavior constituting any “violent felony offense”; or 4)  behavior constituting stalking.  The court must also suspend or revoke respondent’s firearm license, declare respondent ineligible to receive a license, and order the surrender of all firearms where the court finds a substantial risk that the respondent may use or threaten to use a firearm against the person protected by the protection order.10

Mandatory Court Determination

When a protective order or temporary protective order is issued or when such orders are violated, the court must make a determination regarding the suspension or revocation of a license to carry or possess a firearm, ineligibility to obtain such a license, and the surrender of firearms already possessed.11

License Suspension

Any order suspending a firearms license that is issued in relation to a protective order or temporary protective order will remain in effect for the duration of the protective order, unless modified by the court.12

Order to Surrender Firearms

When a domestic violence order to surrender firearms has been issued, the temporary order of protection or order of protection must specify the place, date and time for the firearms to be surrendered and, to the extent possible, and describe the firearms to be surrendered along with instructions to the receiving authority to notify the court immediately upon surrender. The order must also state whether the firearm license has been suspended, revoked, or that the person subject to the order is ineligible.13

If a respondent promptly surrenders a firearm pursuant to a court order, it is considered a voluntary surrender and the respondent may arrange for the transfer or sale of the firearm to a licensed dealer within a year of surrender. After a year, the firearm is declared a nuisance and can be disposed of by the law enforcement authority who received it.14

Notification

The court that declares a protective order respondent ineligible for a firearms license, revokes or suspends a respondent’s license, or orders the surrender of a respondent’s firearms must notify the police in the relevant locality and give written notice to the state police. The court must notify the statewide registry of orders of protection.15

Right to Hearing

The respondent has a right to a hearing before any revocation, suspension, ineligibility or surrender of firearms is ordered. When an order is issued prior to a hearing, the respondent must receive a hearing within two weeks of the date of the order.16

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.20(f). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.05(1). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.05. ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(11)(a). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(11)(b). ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 330.20(2-a). ⤴︎
  7. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 380.96. ⤴︎
  8. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(1)(a)-(b); N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(1)(b). ⤴︎
  9. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(2)(a)-(b); N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(2)(b). ⤴︎
  10. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(3)(a)-(b); N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(3)(b). ⤴︎
  11. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act §§ 446-a, 552, 656-a, 780-a; 1056-a; N.Y Dom. Rel. Law § 240(3)(h), 252(9). ⤴︎
  12. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(4). ⤴︎
  13. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.14(5)(a), (6)(a); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(5)(a), (6)(a). ⤴︎
  14. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(5)(b); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(5)(b); N.Y. Penal Law § 400.05(6). ⤴︎
  15. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(6)(b)-(d); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(6)(b)-(d). ⤴︎
  16. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(7); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(7). ⤴︎

Domestic Violence & Firearms in New York

New York law does not explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

Domestic Violence Misdemeanants

New York prohibits persons convicted of specific violent misdemeanors, defined as “serious offenses,” from obtaining a license to purchase or possess a handgun, assault weapon, or long guns of certain dimensions, thereby prohibiting these persons from possessing these weapons.1 State law also prohibits persons with select violent misdemeanor convictions from possessing long guns.2  However, though the definition of “serious offenses” includes misdemeanor stalking, child endangerment, and sexual offense convictions, certain violent misdemeanors like assault and battery crimes are not included and therefore do not disqualify a perpetrator from possessing a firearm, even if committed in the context of a domestic or dating relationship.3.

New York authorizes courts to prohibit a defendant from purchasing or possessing firearms, and to suspend any existing firearm licenses in a defendant’s name in cases where the defendant is charged with (but not yet convicted of) certain domestic violence misdemeanors.  In addition, the court must suspend or revoke defendant’s firearms license and order the immediate surrender of firearms where the court finds a substantial risk that the defendant may use or threaten to use a firearm unlawfully against the person for whose protection the protection order is issued.4

Any court that is issuing a sentence for domestic violence or another violent crime may also issue an order of protection or temporary order of protection. If the court issues such an order, and the crime is a felony or “serious offense,” the court must revoke any firearm license possessed by the respondent, order the respondent ineligible for a license, and order the immediate surrender of any firearms possessed or owned.  In addition, the court must suspend or revoke defendant’s firearms license and order the immediate surrender of firearms where the court finds a substantial risk that the defendant may use or threaten to use a firearm unlawfully against the person for whose protection the protection order is issued.5

Reporting of Domestic Violence Misdemeanants for Background Checks

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” In 2011, New York enacted a law establishing a procedure to be used in trials for certain violent misdemeanors to determine whether the crime qualifies as domestic violence under the federal definition of that term. More specifically, when a defendant has been charged with one of a list of crimes, prosecutors may serve a notice alleging that the defendant and the victim had the requisite domestic relationship.6 Upon conviction, the court must notify the defendant that he or she is entitled to a hearing on that allegation.7 At such a hearing, the prosecution bears the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is related or situated to the victim in the manner alleged in the notice.8 If the requisite domestic relationship is found, the clerk of the court must send a copy of the written determination in a report of the conviction to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, who then reports the determination to the FBI (which maintains the database used for firearm purchaser background checks).9

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

In certain circumstances, New York prohibits a person subject to a domestic violence protective order or an ex parte domestic violence protective order (the “respondent”) from having a firearms license, and requires the revocation of any existing firearms license in the name of the respondent.10 More specifically, when a domestic violence protective order is issued, the court must revoke a license, order the respondent ineligible for a license and order the immediate surrender of any firearms owned or possessed by respondent, if the court finds that the conduct leading to an order of protection involved:

• Infliction of physical injury;
• The use or threatened use of a deadly weapon; or
• Behavior constituting a violent felony offense.11

When a temporary order of protection is issued to protect a victim during a pending criminal action, or in a family court proceeding prior to a final protective order, a court must suspend a firearm license, order the respondent ineligible for a license and order the immediate surrender of all firearms possessed or owned by the respondent, if the court has good cause to believe that the respondent:

• Has a prior conviction of a violent felony;
• Has previously willfully failed to obey a prior order of protection, and the failure involved the infliction of physical injury, the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon, or behavior constituting any violent felony offense; or
• Has a prior conviction of stalking in the first, second, third or fourth degree.12

In addition, a court issuing a domestic violence protective order or a temporary order of protection or finding that a respondent has willfully failed to obey a domestic violence order of protection must revoke or suspend the respondent’s firearms license, order the respondent ineligible for a future license, and order the immediate surrender of all firearms owned or possessed by the respondent, if the court finds a substantial risk that the respondent may use or threaten to use a firearm unlawfully against the person(s) for whose protection the order was issued.13

When a respondent is found to have willfully failed to obey a domestic violence order of protection or temporary order of protection, the court must revoke any existing firearms license held by the respondent, order the respondent ineligible for a license, and order the immediate surrender of any or all firearms owned or possessed by the respondent if the failure to obey involved:

• Serious physical injury;
• Use or threatened use of deadly weapons;
• Behavior constituting a violent felony offense; or
• Behavior constituting stalking in the first, second, third or fourth degrees.14

When a Family Court in New York issues an order of protection, temporary order of protection, or when such orders are violated, the court must make a determination regarding the suspension or revocation of a firearms license and the surrender of firearms, in accordance with the above principles.15

For laws governing the procedure for surrender of firearms by a person subject to a protective order, see Disarming Prohibited Persons in New York.

See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 400.00(1), 265.00(17). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.01(4), 265.00(17). ⤴︎
  3. See N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(17 ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.12(1), 530.14(1)(b), (2)(b). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.14(1)(b), (2)(a); N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(11). ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 370.15(1). ⤴︎
  7. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 370.15(2). ⤴︎
  8. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 370.15(3). ⤴︎
  9. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 380.97 ⤴︎
  10. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(1), (2), § 828(1)(a), (3); N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.12(1), 530.14(1)(a), (2). See also N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(1)(e), (11). ⤴︎
  11. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(2)(a), (3). ⤴︎
  12. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 530.12(1), 530.14(1)(a); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(1). ⤴︎
  13. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(1)(b), (2)(b), (3)(b); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act § 842-a(1)(b), (2)(b), (3)(b). ⤴︎
  14. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.14(3)(a); N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act §§ 842-a(3)(a), 846-a. ⤴︎
  15. N.Y. Fam. Ct. Act. § 446-a. ⤴︎