Assault Weapons

Q: Is a hunting gun an assault weapon?

A: Most guns that are used for hunting are not assault weapons and are not affected by this law. Typical shotguns and hunting rifles are exempt as the law specifies military style assault weapons by design characteristics. For example, any pump, lever, or bolt action rifle or shotgun cannot be an assault weapon. 

Q: Is a handgun an assault weapon?

A: Most handguns are not assault weapons and are not affected by this law. A traditionally designed handgun is not an assault weapon. For example a single shot pistol or a revolver cannot be an assault weapon.

Q: How do I find out if the gun I own is an assault weapon?

A: Most guns are not assault weapons and are not affected by this law. There are different military characteristics of guns that determine whether they qualify as assault weapons.

To help you know whether or not your gun is affected by this law, please see gun types below:

Q: If I own an assault weapon, do I have to give it up?

A: No. If you have an assault weapon, you can register it with the State Police. Under state and federal law, some people are not allowed to possess a weapon, such as convicted felons, individuals who have been involuntarily committed, or individuals currently under an order of protection. These people will not be able to register. There is no fee for registering.

Q: How does registering my assault weapon compare to getting a handgun license?

A: It is much simpler. To register, all you need to do is fill out the basic form. If you elect to register online, you do not need to appear in person or provide references or other information that is typically provided during the handgun licensing process.

Q: If I modify my gun by removing all design characteristics that makes it an assault weapon, do I still have to register it?

A: No. If you modify your gun so that it is not an assault weapon, you do NOT have to register it. The modification must be permanent however. This includes, for example, removing the bayonet lug by cutting or grinding, grinding off the threads on the barrel, removing the foregrip so that it cannot be readily reattached, or any change that cannot be reversed through reasonable means.

Q: If I don't currently own an assault weapon, how does the new ban on assault weapons affect me?

A: The ban on selling assault weapons mainly affects dealers and manufacturers. Newly banned assault weapons may not be sold in New York and dealers and manufacturers will know what weapons can and cannot be sold.

Assault Weapon Registration

Q: Where do I get the assault weapon registration form?

A: The online registration form and paper form can be found below and at State Police stations throughout the state:

Mail-IN Form

Online Registration

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Q: Once the form is submitted, how will I know that my weapon has been successfully registered?

A: If you submitted your form electronically, you will immediately receive an acknowledgement and tracking number (this is NOT confirmation that your registration has been approved). You will then be notified subsequently by e-mail and/or U.S. mail whether your registration was successful.

If you mailed in your form to the State Police, you will receive notification either through the e-mail address you provided, or, if no e-mail was provided, by mail.

In either case, please allow at least three business days for notification.

Q: How much does the registration cost?

A: There is no charge for registering.

Q: What happens if I fail to register my weapon?

A: Failure to register an assault weapon by the deadline is punishable as a class A misdemeanor and forfeiture of the weapon. If failure to register is deemed to be unintentional, a 30-day amnesty period will be extended for purposes of registering the weapon.

Q: Will my registration information be publicly available?

A: No. The registration database is exempt from New York’s Freedom of Information Law.

Q: Once I’ve registered my weapon, do I ever have to register it again?

A: Yes. You must re-certify your weapon with the State Police every five years. The failure to re-certify your weapon results in the revocation of your registration.

Q: Do I need to amend my assault weapon registration form if I change my name, address, or other identifying information after I register?

A: Yes. If you change any of your identifying or contact information (e.g., name, address, e-mail) after you submitted your registration form, you must complete the amendment form below:

Registration Amendment Form

Q: Do I need to complete a form if I transfer, lose, or otherwise dispose of my assault weapon?

A: Yes. If you transfer your assault weapon to an out-of-state resident, a firearms dealer, or a law enforcement agency or officer, you must report such transfer to the New York State Police within seventy-two hours by completing the transfer below. You must also complete this form if your assault weapon has been stolen, lost, or destroyed.

Transfer Disposal or Loss Form


Q: How does the SAFE Act impact magazines?

A: Since 1994, magazines sold in New York could contain up to 10 rounds. This continues to be true today. You may buy, sell, and possess any magazine that can hold up to 10 rounds, regardless of when it was manufactured. If you have a magazine that can contain more than 10 rounds, you had until January 15, 2014 to permanently modify the magazine so that it holds no more than ten rounds, responsibly discard it, transfer it to a law enforcement agency or officer, or sell it to a dealer or an out of state purchaser.

Q: Can I continue to buy 10 round magazines?

A: Yes, the SAFE Act does not affect your ability to continue to buy 10 round magazines.

Q: Is there anything else I should be aware of?

A: Hunters should remember that for many years there have been round limitations when it comes to guns used during hunting. In New York you may not hunt with a semi-automatic gun that can contain more than 6 rounds unless it uses .22 or .17 caliber rimfire ammunition, is an autoloading pistol with a barrel length of less than eight inches, or has been altered to reduce its capacity to no more than 6 rounds in the magazine and chamber combined.

For more hunting information please click here.

Antique Guns & Magazines

Q: Is there any exception for historic or antique guns and magazines?

A: Yes, they are exempt from the prohibition against transfer, but if the gun qualifies as an assault weapon or the magazine holds over ten rounds it must be registered.

Q: What qualifies as an antique gun or magazine?

A: Any magazine or gun manufactured more than 50 years ago.

Q: I have an antique gun that now qualifies as an assault weapon. Can I transfer it?

A: Yes. As long as the gun is registered as an assault weapon by the new owner upon taking possession, it can be freely transferred to anyone that is not otherwise prohibited from gun possession.

Q: I have an antique gun with a magazine that can contain more than ten rounds. Can I keep the magazine?

A: Yes, provided that you register both the gun and magazine using the same simple registration process that is used for assault weapons. 

Private Sales

Q: What types of private handgun, rifle or shotgun sales or transfers are subject to background check requirements?

A: Beginning March 15, 2013, all private handgun, rifle or shotgun sales or transfers (with the exception of those sales or transfers to and between certain family members) require a background check of the buyer.

Q: What family members are exempt from the private sale/transfer provision?

A: Sales or transfers to and between spouses, domestic partners, children and step-children, are exempt from the private sale/transfer provision.

Q: As a private individual seller/transferor, how do I conduct a background check on a buyer or transferee?

A: The background check must be performed by a dealer. Federal law and guidelines govern the process that dealers must follow if they choose to conduct a background check for a private sale.

You, the seller/transferor, bring the weapon to any dealer that agrees to facilitate the sale or transfer. The dealer conducts an instant background check of the buyer/transferee—the same check run for all retail firearm sales. The dealer may not charge more than $10 for this service.

You may visit the dealer along with the buyer/transferee and complete the sale or transfer together, or you may leave your firearm with the dealer to complete the sale or transfer on your behalf.

Q: Do I need to get a background check if I am selling or transferring the firearm to a relative?

A: No background check is required for sales or transfers to spouses, domestic partners, children and step-children.

Q: Are dealers required to facilitate a private sale or transfer?

A: No, dealers in New York are not required to facilitate private firearm sales or transfers. However, if they do, they may not charge more than $10 per firearm to complete the sale or transfer. It is up to the private parties to decide who is responsible for paying the dealer.

Q: What if I fail to comply with the background check provision?

A: Failure to comply with the provision is punishable as a class A misdemeanor.

Safe Storage

Q: When am I required to safely store my gun?

A: You are required to safely store a gun when a person less than sixteen years of age has access to it. You are also required safely store your gun if you live with someone who has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence crime, has been involuntarily committed for mental health reasons, or is currently under an order of protection.

Q: What do I have to do to safely store my gun?

A: You can use an appropriate locking device including a trigger lock, a gun safe, or a secure gun cabinet. 

Click here for more information on how to safely store your gun. 


Q: Must an organization such as a business or shooting club register an assault weapon?

A: Yes. Any assault weapons owned by an organization must be registered by April 15, 2014. Any such weapons must have been owned by the organization prior to January 15, 2013; as of that date, acquisition of new assault weapons is prohibited.

Q: Who can register the weapon on behalf of the organization?

A: The organization can designate any individual owner and/or employee as the "Responsible Party" for purposes of assault weapon registration. It is recommended that the individual be someone with responsibility for supervising use of the weapon(s), such as a head of security or range captain.

Q: Can organization registration of assault weapons be done online?

A: No. Organization registration must be mailed in, using the form below:

Organization Registration ForM

Q: Is there a fee for registering assault weapons?

A: No, the registration is free.

Q: What if the "responsible party" leaves the organization or becomes ineligible to possess weapons?

A: The organization must designate a new responsible party, who must complete a new registration.

Q: My business/organization has more than one location. What address should I use on the registration form?

A: The primary business location of the responsible party.