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Legal Information: New York

State Gun Laws

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November 9, 2020

I do not have an order of protection against the abuser, and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he have a gun?

In New York, there can be other reasons that make gun possession illegal aside from being the respondent on an order of protection and being a convicted criminal, such as the following. A person cannot have a gun license unless s/he is:

  1. over age 21 (except for someone who was honorably discharged from the United States army, navy, marine corps, air force or coast guard, or the national guard of the state of New York - in that case, s/he can be under 21);
  2. is of “good moral character;”
  3. is not a fugitive from justice;
  4. does not have an outstanding arrest warrant for allegedly committing a felony or serious offense;
  5. is not an unlawful drug user or addicted to any controlled substance;
  6. is not an undocumented immigrant (or has not renounced his or her U.S. citizenship);
  7. has not been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  8. has not been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility by a judge;
  9. has not had his/her gun license revoked or who is not under a suspension or ineligibility order (such as those that can be issued as part of a an order of protection proceeding);
  10. has successfully completed a firearms safety course and test (in counties where this is required and where applicable); and
  11. has not had a guardian appointed for him/her based on subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incapacity, condition or disease, or that s/he lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs.1

Even if the abuser may legally be able to possess a gun, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Staying Safe page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. See our NY Advocates and Shelters page to find a local domestic violence organization near you.

For additional information on gun laws in New York, you can go to the Giffords Law Center website.

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun under other circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 NY Penal Law § 400.00(1)

I've read through all of this information, and I am still confused. What can I do?

Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing, but there are people out there who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.

  • You can write to our Email Hotline;
  • You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area (see our NY Advocates and Shelters page);
  • You can also contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you at 1-800-903-0111 x 2.