New York firearm dealers are required to conduct National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background checks before transferring any firearm to a buyer (except between family members). A license or permit is only required for the purchase of handguns, except in New York City (NYC), where a license is required for the purchase of any type of firearm. Permits to possess a firearm are issued on a “shall issue” basis, whereas concealed carry permits are issued on a “may issue” basis, which gives the licensor discretion to authorize a permit or not. Permits and licenses issued outside of NYC are not valid within NYC, unless under a special license. Gun permit applications must be made at the appropriate County Court through the court clerk, county clerk, or sheriff; except for NYC, Nassau County, and most of Suffolk County, where applications are given to the police commissioner or licensing department.

New York Gun Laws – New York Civil Rights Law art. II, § 4Article 265 – Firearms and Other Dangerous WeaponsArticle 400 –  Licensing and Other Provisions Relating to Firearms

New York State Handgun License Application Form – Required to purchase a handgun in New York State

NYC Handgun License Application Form – Required to purchase a handgun in New York City

NYC Rifle and Shotgun Permit Application Form – Required to purchase a rifle or shotgun in New York City

Firearm Bill of Sale – Used by firearm dealer as a record of the transaction

Eligible for Purchasing – In order to be eligible to purchase a firearm in New York State, an individual must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be a New York resident
  • Be 21 years old
  • Have no prior felony or conviction
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have a legally recognized reason to possess or carry a firearm

New York State Handgun License

In order to be able to purchase a handgun in New York, an application for a license must be made using the New York State Handgun License Application Form. This completed form must be presented to the County Court through the court clerk, county clerk, or sheriff, along with proof of identification. Procedures may vary from one county to another; application processing fees differ, but cannot exceed $10 (except in New York City).

NYC Handgun License/Rifle and Shotgun Permit

State laws regarding gun ownership are exceptional in New York City (NYC), where it is much more difficult to purchase and own a firearm. In NYC, as opposed to the rest of the state, an individual must have a Rifle/Shotgun Permit in order to purchase a rifle or shotgun. Furthermore, a NYC Handgun License is required for the purchase of handguns; other state licenses are not accepted.

To apply for a NYC Handgun License, an individual must complete the NYC Handgun License Application Form and present this form at : 1 Police Plaza, Room 110-A, Lower Manhattan. You will be asked to provide the following (fees are payable by check, money order, or credit card):

  • Two (2) color photographs of individual
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of business ownership (for licenses in connection with a business)
  • Letter of necessity
  • Social security card
  • $340 processing fee
  • $89.75 fingerprinting fee

In order to acquire a NYC Rifle/Shotgun Permit, NYC residents must fill out the NYC Rifle and Shotgun Permit Application Form and bring it to 120-55 Queens Blvd, B-11, Kew Gardens. In order for an application to be accepted, individuals must have the following on hand:

  • Four (4) color photographs of individual
  • Birth certificate or other form of birth certification
  • Proof of citizenship (for individuals born outside of US)
  • Proof of residence
  • Social security card
  • $140 processing fee
  • $91.50 fingerprinting fee

Associated fees can be paid by check, money order, or credit card.

NICS Background Check For Sale of a Handgun

Step 1 – Before transferring a firearm, New York gun vendors must perform a NICS background check on the person making the purchase. A NICS background check can be conducted by phone by calling 1 (877) 324-6427 or online. To perform an online background check, you will need to log into the NICS website. If you do not have an account, navigate to this webpage and click Agree to begin the account creation process.

Step 2 – Next, you will need to enter all of the following information into the indicated fields:

  • FFL ID number
  • FFL code word
  • Name of FFL business
  • Street address of business
  • City
  • State or territory
  • Zip code
  • FFL business phone
  • Phone extension (optional)
  • Last name
  • Cadence (e.g. Jr., Sr.) (optional)
  • First name
  • Middle name (optional)
  • Date of birth
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Email address

Once you have provided all of the required information, click Registration and, by following the instructions in the subsequent pages, you will be able to complete the creation of your new NICS account.

Step 3 – Once you have created an account, you will be able to log in by navigating to this webpage and providing your username and selecting either Password or Token before clicking Sign In.

Step 4 – Supply your chosen certification method before clicking Next or Token Sign In to continue.

Step 5 – After logging into your account, you will be able to perform NICS background searches. For more information, you can consult the FBI NICS E Check Help Pages for instructions on how to use their services.