Purchasing a firearm in New York can be complicated and time-consuming. Unique to New York is the fact that there are two different sets of laws relating to guns in the state; one for New York City, and another for everyone else. In the guide below, we will try to make these differences clear. This guide is here to help you through the process. While we strive to make this guide as complete as possible, there certainly may be some questions we fail to answer. If that is the case, please feel free to use our contact form to suggest something we've missed.

Are you qualified to purchase a gun?

  1. If you are 18 years of age, you may purchase a rifle or shotgun (i.e. "long guns"). You need to be 21 years of age in order to legally purchase a handgun.
  2. You cannot be a prohibited person. You can find a complete list of disqualifying crimes under New York Penal Code §265.00 (17) (scroll down to paragraph 17). Broadly speaking, crimes of violence, domestic violence, stalking, pimping or endangering the welfare of a child will prevent you from legally purchasing a firearm in New York.
  3. You need to be a resident of New York. Part-time residents may also purchase a gun in the state, but will need to provide proof of residency.
  4. You will have to fill out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms form 4473. This form contains several questions to determine if you are allowed to purchase a gun. You can find the form here if you'd like to take a look at it. When you actually go into a gun store to purchase a firearm, the dealer will provide you with the form and can help you with filling it out.

Buying a gun in New York City

There are two different types of gun permits that you can apply for as a resident of New York City, a premises permit and a carry permit. Unless you're famous, or have compromising pictures of a politician with an underage child, you're not getting a carry permit. For that reason we will focus mainly on the premises license that allows you to have a firearm in your home and to transport it (unloaded and in a locked container) to and from a firing range. You can find a copy of the handgun permit application here.

As you begin this process, it's important that you understand that this will be a time-consuming process. It can take more than 6 months to get your license and the subsequent purchase authorization to actually get your handgun. Note that New York City allows you to purchase one handgun every 90 days. If you're interested in buying a rifle or shotgun, that too is limited to one long gun every 90 days.

  1. The application fee is $140 for rifles and shotguns; $340 for handguns. There is also a flat fee of $89.75 to run your fingerprints. These fees are non-refundable. If, for any reason, you don't qualify for a license, then this money is forfeited.
  2. Two recent color photos (within the last 30 days) 1.5-inches square (aka "Passport Photos).
  3. Proof of your birth date. A birth certificate is the most common proof, but a US Passport or military records such as a DD214 are acceptable too.
  4. If you've been in the military, your DD214 and discharge papers.
  5. Proof of residency in New York City. A lease, ownership shares in a condo or co-op, or a property tax bill should be sufficient.  On occasion, they might also request a state income tax return, utility bill or New York State driver's license.
  6. If you have ever been arrested or had an Order of Protection or Restraining Order issued against you, you will need to divulge these facts. You're going to need to explain each and every one of these things. They are not immediately disqualifying, but if you've had run-ins with the law, this is where you might be denied a permit.
  7. You're also going to need to have the following affidavits:
    1. If you want to get training or practice at a firing range before your permit is finalized many months down the road, you can request a Request for Pre-License Exemption. This includes a statement and a signature from your weapons trainer. This must be notarized.
    2. If you live with someone else, they've got to be OK with you potentially bringing a firearm into your residence. Your cohabitant must fill out an affidavit acknowledging they're fine with you getting a firearm. This must be notarized.
    3. If you live alone, you will have to provide an affidavit to the effect as well. This must be notarized.
    4. A signed affirmation that you are familiar with New York's weapons laws.
    5. You must choose someone who agrees to safeguard your gun(s) should you die or become incapacitated. This person does not need to have a firearms license, but must be  a New York State resident.
    6. You may optionally fill out a form requesting to have the fact that you have a firearm permit exempted from public records requests by, among others, the media. We here at Restricted Arms encourage you to fill out the form requesting this exemption. In the past, New York newspapers have published interactive maps with gun owners names and homes, making them targets not only for burglars seeking potential firearms, but also for harassment from anti-gun busybodies.

Getting permission to exercise a constitutional right

Once you've submitted all of the aforementioned paperwork, it's a waiting game. Once you receive your approval letter you have 30 days to pick up your permit. If your request for a permit is, you believe, unjustly denied, then it's time to contact a lawyer. You have four months from the date you were denied to appeal.

Along with your license will come your first purchase authorization. This is the document that actually allows you to buy a firearm. The purchase authorization form includes blanks for firearm manufacturer, model and caliber that you are required to fill out beforehand. Note that you are not committed to buying the particular handgun you list on this form. In the past, you were required to purchase a handgun of the same caliber you originally listed, but according to several gun shops, that is no longer the case. The purchase authorization allows you to buy one New York-compliant handgun within the next 30 calendar days.

For your first handgun purchase, we recommend you patronize a local gun shop for two reasons: These are among the most knowledgeable people on New York gun laws and can ensure that your first handgun works best for you; and, these businesses are on the front lines of protecting your right to exercise the 2nd Amendment. Make no mistake, nothing would please the likes of Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, and Bill DiBlasio more than if every gun shop in New York were to go out of business.

Once you've purchased your new firearm, you have 72 hours (weekends and holidays count) to bring the gun (locked, unloaded, and don't have any ammunition on your person) down to 1 Police Plaza to have it inspected. Make sure you have your purchase authorization, bill of sale (two copies) and any other pertinent paperwork. The gun, make, model, caliber and serial #, will then be added to your gun license and handed to you. Make sure all of the information is accurate, especially the serial #. If there's a mistake, you can be sure the government isn't going to take responsibility. At this point, you can now purchase ammunition for the caliber listed on your license.

Don't stop here

Now that you have your first gun, we encourage you to get additional training and continue to practice at one of the firing ranges in New York City.

Counties other than New York City

Counties other than New York City tend to have much more reasonable standards when it comes to issuing permits to carry a concealed weapon. While it is much more onerous than so-called states with "constitutional carry" or "shall-issue," unlike attempting to get a carry license in New York City, it is not almost exclusively limited to the rich, famous, and powerful.

If you live in Nassau and most of western Suffolk County, you can apply through the police commissioner. Eastern Suffolk County residents apply to the Sheriff.

One major difference between getting a premises license and a carry license in these other counties is the requirement for character references from people not related to you by blood or marriage whom you have known for at least two years. Depending on the county, the number of these letters can vary from two to four. NewYorkCityGuns.com has a sample reference letter you can use here.

For information on applying for your carry or premises permit for New York's remaining counties, follow the links below.

Firearms permits by County

Albany County

County Sheriff's Office
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Allegany County

County Sheriff's Office
Call 585-268-9204
No Online links
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Broome County

County Sheriff's Identification Division
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Cattaraugus County

County Sheriff's Office
Pistol Permit Clerk
LEARN MORE

Cayuga County

County Sheriff's Office
Records Division
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Chautauqua County

County Sheriff's Office
Pistol Permit CLerk
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Chemung County

County Sheriff's Office
Pistol Permit Office
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Chenango County

County Clerk
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CLinton County

County Clerk
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Columbia County

County Sheriff's Office
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Cortland County

County Clerk
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Delaware County

Pistol Clerk
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Dutchess County

County Sheriff's Office
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Erie County

County Clerk
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ESSEX County

Pistol Permit Clerk
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Franklin County

County Clerk's Office
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Fulton County

Sheriff's Department
Civil Office
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Genesee County

Pistol Permit Clerk
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Greene County

County sheriff's Office
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Hamilton County

County Clerk
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Herkimer County

Pistol PErmit Clerk
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Jefferson County

Records Division
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Lewis County

County Clerk's Office
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Livingston County

County Clerk's Office
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Madison County

Sheriff's Department Pistol Permit Office
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Monroe County

County Clerk's Office
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Montgomery County

County Sheriff's Office
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Niagara County

Pistol Permit Office
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Oneida County

Office of Pistol Permit Licensing
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Onondaga County

County Sheriff's Office Pistol license unit
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Ontario County

County Clerk's Office
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Orange County

County Sheriff's office
Pistol Permit Unit
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Orleans County

County Clerk's Office
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Oswego County

County Clerk's Office
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Otsego County

Pistol Permit Office
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Putnam County

sheriff's Department
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Rensselaer County

Sheriff's Department
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Rockland County

County Clerk's Office
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St. Lawrence County

County CLerk's Office
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Saratoga County

Sheriff's Department
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Schenectady County

County Clerk's Office
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Schoharie County

Sheriff's Department
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Schuyler County

County clerk's Office
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Seneca County

Sheriff's Department
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Steuben County

County Clerk's Office
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Sullivan County

County clerk's Office
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Tioga County

Sheriff's Department
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Tompkins County

Sheriff's Office
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Ulster County

Sheriff's Office
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Warren County

county clerk's office
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Washington County

Sheriff's Office
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Wayne County

County Clerk's Office
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Westchester County

county clerk's office
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Wyoming County

county clerk's office
LEARN MORE

Yates County

County Clerk's Office
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