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. Applications must be submitted in the city or county where the business is located. 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. 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. A firearms dealer license is valid for up to three years from the date of issuance.
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.