Gun Crimes FAQs
- What is a High Capacity Magazine or a High Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Under New York Law?
- What Is the Definition of Loaded Firearm Under New York Law?
- I Just Moved From Out-of-State Do I Need a New York license for My Handguns?
- What Is the Definition of an “Assault Weapon” in New York?
- Can I Carry My Lawfully Possessed Pistol From Another State While Travelling in New York?
- Does New York Recognize the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (HR218)?
- How Can I Lawfully Travel Through New York with a Pistol Licensed in Another State?
- May a Gun Owner Licensed to Carry His Firearm in New York (or Any Other State) Bring His Lawfully Possessed Pistol on Vacation to Puerto Rico?
New York prohibits the possession of what they call a “high capacity ammunition feeding device” or a high capacity magazine. Any device such as a magazine, clip, belt, feed strip or drum that is capable of holding more than 10 rounds is considered a high capacity magazine in New York even if it is empty and contains no ammunition. Although, the law was originally written to prohibit loading more than 7 rounds into such a magazine or possessing a magazine capable of holding more than seven rounds that was purchased after the law became effective in 2013, those provisions have been ruled to be unconstitutional and are no longer enforced in New York.
A “loaded firearm” in New York has a much broader definition than a person may traditionally understand. A loaded firearm in New York encompasses the traditional definition which is a firearm loaded with ammunition but also adds an unloaded firearm that is possessed by someone who also possess ammunition capable of being fired from that firearm. So for example if you have an unloaded firearm in a holster and ammunition for that firearm in a duffel bag that you are carrying, you are in possession of a loaded firearm under New York law.
New York law makes unlicensed possession of any firearm a felony level crime. This would include possession of a handgun in your home, your car, at a range or even picking up a firearm inside a gun store. Unlicensed possession of a “loaded firearm” under New York law carries a mandatory minimum of three and one half years in state prison. A person charged with unlicensed possession of even an unloaded pistol in the home faces up to 4 years in prison. In addition, many prosecutors take the position that having the license is not enough but that the firearm you possess must also be registered to you. New York gun license have the make model and serial number of the firearms that you are registered to possess typed on the back of the license.
New York bans the possession of “assault weapons” and has a very broad view of what is included in that definition. Possession of an assault weapon in New York is a class “D” felony which carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison. A gun is considered an assault weapon in New York if it is a semiautomatic rifle that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine and has one or more bad features. The bad features are a pistol grip, a telescoping or folding stock, a thumbhole stock, a second grip such as a foregrip for the non-shooting hand, a bayonet lug or mount, a flash hider or muzzle break or a threaded barrel designed to accommodate any such device or a grenade launcher. A shotgun can also be considered an assault weapon if it is semiautomatic and it has a telescoping or folding stock, a fixed magazine capacity greater than 7 rounds, a foregrip, a thumbhole stock, or can accept a detachable magazine. Even a pistol can be considered an assault weapon in New York if it is semiautomatic, accepts a detachable magazine and either has a muzzle shroud or heat shield, a second handgrip or foregrip, has the ability to accept a magazine outside the pistol grip, an unloaded weight of 50 ounces or more, a threaded barrel of a flash suppressor or silencer, or a thumbhole stock, folding stock, or telescoping stock.
The short answer is no you may not carry a pistol that is unlicensed in New York. New York does not offer reciprocity to the holders of gun licenses from any other state and it is a felony to possess a firearm in New York without a licensed issued from New York.
New York has no choice but to recognize the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) also known as HR218 since it is a federal law that by its terms provides a defense to state gun charges. It is essential that one understands the finer points of LEOSA prior to bringing a gun to New York because the consequences of being wrong can be severe and include prison. In particular, LEOSA requires that a qualified retired law enforcement officer carry two types of identification when carrying a pistol. The first type of identification would identify the gun carrier as being retired from a qualified law enforcement job. The second would identify that within the preceding 12 months the gun carrier qualified with the pistol that the retired officer is carrying.
Under the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) a person may travel on a continuous trip from one place that they may lawfully posses a firearm to another as long as they comply with certain rules. Under 18 USC 926A a person has a defense to any state firearms charge if while they are travelling from one place where the person may lawfully possess a firearm to another the firearm is transported unloaded and both the ammunition and firearm are in the trunk or other place not accessible from the passenger area.
Yes, Puerto Rico recently amended its gun laws to become a “shall issue” state that gives reciprocity to the firearms license of any state. Therefore, if you are licensed to carry a gun in any state Puerto Rico will give reciprocity to that license. Be sure to follow all applicable rules from your airline and TSA.