Understanding New York’s New Gun and Permit Regulations
The New York State Bar Association held a webinar this month to break down the new law on the possession of firearms, which went passed in July.
“New York’s Red Flag & Conceal Carry Law Changes: Practical Overview of Processes/ Proceedings” was sponsored by the NYSBA Criminal Justice Section, Committee on Children and the Law and the Committee on Continuing Legal Education.
The event featured New York State Court of Claims Judge Adam W. Silverman who outlined the red flag laws passed in 2019. The process for obtaining an extreme risk protection order allowing law enforcement to take possession of an individual’s firearm in the interest of public safety is commonly called a red flag law.
The webinar also focused on the changes the state made to the conceal carry permit process for handguns following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bruen v New York State Pistol and Rifle Association striking down the state law.
Following the Supreme Court decision in June, Gov. Kathy Hochul called the legislature back to Albany in an extraordinary session in early July. Days later, she signed new regulations called the “Conceal Carry Improvement Act” that established the process for obtaining a conceal carry permit and set new restrictions on where a person can possess a firearm in the state.
New Definition for a short-barrel shotgun
At the webinar, Michael W. Deyo, deputy counsel for the New York State Police, outlined the differences between pistols and revolvers that require a permit and shotguns and rifles that do not require a permit.
Firearm manufacturers were skirting the permit process for owners in New York by creating a short-barrel shotgun that can be held like a handgun. In doing so, Deyo says, the weapon didn’t require a permit to own.
“The new definition for firearm is a catchall, which includes a pistol, a revolver, assault weapon, a short-barreled shotgun or short-barreled rifle or any other weapon that is not otherwise defined in the penal law as expelling a projectile with the action of an explosive is the catchall definition.”
New Permit to Buy a Semiautomatic Rifle
The new legislation signed this summer adds a new permit requirement to purchase a semiautomatic rifle. Starting on Sept. 4, purchasers of semiautomatic rifles had to apply to the county licensing officer in their home county to purchase the rifle.
” This is a permit just for a new purchase. If you owned a semi-automatic rifle in New York prior to Sept. 4, there is no obligation to obtain a license to continue possession of that rifle,” Deyo said.
How to Obtain a Conceal Carry Permit
The process to obtain a conceal carry permit for a pistol or handgun now includes additional steps. Applicants must complete 16 hours of firearms training plus two additional hours of live fire training with a certified instructor. Applicants will have an in-person interview with the licensing officer and must disclose social media accounts going back three years.
The licensing officer in each county makes the final decision on granting a permit. Judge Silverman, who as a judge is a licensing officer, spoke about what he wants to see from the applicant.
“What I am looking for in the application is complete honesty and full disclosure,” he said.
Sensitive Location vs. Restricted Location
The newest wrinkle to the New York State regulations is the establishment of sensitive locations where firearms cannot be carried.
“Generally these are public places like schools, healthcare facilities or government buildings. They are locations where people will congregate in large numbers,” Deyo says.
You can see a full list of sensitive locations here . Those exempt from following the sensitive location laws include law enforcement, active duty military, peace officers and armed security guards. A full list of exemptions can be found here.
A restricted location is a private establishment like a store or restaurant. Deyo says it is the default that a private location will not allow firearms unless the owner puts out a sign saying “weapons allowed here.” The owner of a sensitive location, such as a house of worship, cannot decide to allow firearms.
During the question and answer period, Deyo explained that an exempt person such as a police officer or armed security officer is allowed to carry a weapon in a sensitive location.
“It depends on the specific individual and that status each person has within that security team,” Deyo said.
The full program is available for purchase on demand here.