Due to its drastic diversity of landscapes, New York's gun laws are perhaps the most complex and confusing in the country. Before detailing the intricacies of such laws, one must be aware of New York's general principle: hand gun laws are the most strict in the nation, while the possession or purchasing of hunting firearms such as rifles and shotguns is only regulated in New York City. The reason for this drastic contrast is simple to understand. Legislators and law enforcement want to keep New York City as safe as possible. A quick chart will further detail such a differentiating sentiment.
New York's stance on rifles and shotguns
No permit necessary to purchase
Registration is only necessary in New York City
Licensing of ownership is only necessary in New York City
A permit to carry or conceal is only necessary in New York City
New York's hand gun laws
A permit is required to purchase handguns
Registration is necessary under handgun laws
Licensing of ownership is required
A permit to carry is required
To further elaborate the state's rigorous handgun laws ,one must have an understanding of how meticulous the procedures are. The application for a handgun license begins at the local police department where a background check and fingerprinting will be administered. Once approved, the application will then get passed to the New York State Police Department where personal references are mandatory for consideration. These references will include family members and close friends who can attest to the applicant's good moral character. New York handgun laws are filled with legislative red tape to delay such procedures; a license will be awarded within 4-6 months of the application's filing date.
According to New York's handgun laws, a license is also necessary to possess a handgun in one's home or place of business. Applications are made to the licensing officer of the city or county where the applicant resides or works. Unlike most licenses, the right to possess is completely up to the discretion of the licensing officer. Aliens who are not of proper citizenship can receive a license to possess if such basic requirements are met: Applicant must be of good moral character, at least 21 years of age, clean criminal record, and no history or evidence of mental illness or addiction to drugs/alcohol.
After the information is gathered, it is sent to the FBI for a full background check. The licensing officer can request further documentation, but the entire process will take 6 months in total. It is considered unlawful for any individual to carry, possess, or transport a handgun without a valid New York driver's license.
Dissimilar to most states in the union, New York also requires a registration of handguns and pistols. Under the handgun laws of New York, a pistol that is loaded and fired without registration will warrant felony charges. Registration procedures and fees vary greatly based on jurisdiction or county. Urban areas in New York are allowed to adopt their own policies and laws if their population exceeds 100,000. This unique provision in state law requires one to be familiar with the differing sentiments on concealed gun laws throughout the state.
Under New York handgun laws, a license to possess a handgun also serves as a license to carry throughout the state (New York City does not apply.) A pistol may be carried outside of one's home if proper cause is exhibited-such as hunting or target shooting. Under current concealed gun law, and New York's general handgun laws, it is nearly impossible to be issued carrying license in New York City.
Exceptions to this rule include celebrities or security officers, but even then they are issued with on-premise possession only. Other counties have adopted similar stances, where it is only legal to carry a weapon to and from a shooting range or on a job that involves weapon use. Counties upstate which are rural and have lenient concealed gun laws do not restrict possession or concealment of firearms.
Based on the state's hand gun laws, it is no surprise that dealers of firearms also are under severe restriction. Like buyers, a distributor must be licensed, is required to document all sales made and report those details to local and state officials. In addition, routine police inspections are made to retail gun shops annually. Assault weapons are also banned under federal provisions.
The varying sentiments of concealed gun laws are attributed to cultural forces present in New York. Rural counties that are found upstate possess sprawling hunting grounds and are delegated under more conservative watch. New York state and New York city are two very different worlds, and the varying concealed gun laws (as well as gun control in general) reflect these two opposing cultures.