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Know the Laws: New York

UPDATED October 29, 2012

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Below is information about state gun laws in New York.  A restraining order or criminal conviction may make it illegal for an abuser to have a gun.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply.  To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. Go to the NY Where to Find Help page to find domestic violence organizations and legal help in your area.

Guns and Criminal Convictions

back to topIf the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he legally keep or buy a gun?

NY state law says that a person can NEVER have a "rifle or shotgun" if s/he has been convicted of a felony or serious offense.*   Also, a person cannot have any "firearm" outside of his home or place of business if he has been convicted of a felony or a class A misdemeanor within the past five years.**

* NY Penal Law §265.01(4)
** NY Penal Law §265.02(5)(ii)

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back to topHow can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

Misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access.  If you know the exact courthouse where your abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

To read more about the NICS, please see the question, "What will happen if the abuser tries to buy a gun when he isn't supposed to?"

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