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The New York SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearm Enforcement Act) dramatically interferes with the rights of New York gun owners by severely limiting firearms that New Yorkers can own and possess, limiting the sale of ammunition, requiring recertification for firearms licenses and registration of so called “assault weapons”.


“Assault Weapons”

The SAFE ACT bans most semi-automatic rifles by making it a felony to possess a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine that has one or more cosmetic features that New York finds undesirable, such as:

  • A folding or adjustable stock
  • A thumbhole stock
  • A pistol grip
  • A bayonet lug
  • A foregrip
  • A flash suppressor
  • A muzzle brake
  • A threaded barrel, or
  • A grenade launcher

In addition, semi-automatic handguns are considered assault weapons if they have any one of the following features:

  • A manufactured weight over 50 ounces unloaded
  • A folding or adjustable stock
  • A thumbhole stock
  • A foregrip or second pistol grip
  • A magazine that attaches outside of the pistol grip
  • A barrel shroud, or
  • A threaded barrel

Shotguns are considered assault weapons if they are semi-automatic and have any one of the following features:

  • A folding or adjustable stock
  • A thumbhole stock
  • A foregrip or second pistol grip
  • The ability to accept a detachable magazine, or
  • A fixed magazine with a capacity over 7 rounds.

Those who owned these “Assault Weapons” before the SAFE Act were required to register them.

Ban on Private Sales

The SAFE ACT also banned most private sales of firearms; under the SAFE Act any transfer must be done through a licensed dealer except if the transfer is between certain close family members.


Pistol license holders are required to recertify with the State Police every 5 years “to improve recordkeeping.”

Ammunition is Regulated

Sellers of ammunition are required to register as ammunition dealers and out-of-state unregistered dealers are not permitted to ship into New York. In addition, ranges and other organizations that use ammunition but are not retailers are required to register as “Organizational Keepers of Ammunition.” In addition, retailers are supposed to do background checks and keep records of ammunition sales.

Uneven Enforcement

The enforcement of many of the provisions of the SAFE Act is very inconsistent and often varies from County to County. Many District Attorneys’ Offices have a policy not to generally prosecute pure SAFE Act violations without more while other District Attorneys’ Offices aggressively prosecute SAFE Act violations. Many SAFE Act violations can be hard to prove and our attorneys have had some success in defending SAFE act cases.

Experience Counts

When faced with a SAFE Act issue experience counts. Two of our attorneys are NRA Certified Firearms Instructors who have experience with SAFE Act issues and have a proven track record over many years in handling firearms related issues and cases. Mr. Tilem, the founder of the firm, is a former prosecutor in the elite Firearms Trafficking Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and has nearly thirty years of experience in dealing with firearms related legal issues.

Contact the experienced New York SAFE Act attorneys for a free consultation regarding any SAFE Act or firearms legal issues. For Existing gun owners visit our NY TAC Defense site to learn about our pre-paid legal program for gun owners.

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