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How can I legally own a firearm in NYC? are there any legal alternatives?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by AJAX22, Aug 20, 2008.

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  1. AJAX22

    AJAX22 Member

    Nov 9, 2005
    I'd like to apologize in advance in case this has been covered in another thread and my search-fu is just not up to par.

    I'm a California Native who just moved to NYC to go to school. (Columbia university)

    I had to leave my entire (rather decent) collection behind when i moved.

    I would like to get a firearm for home defense or (if possible) a concealed cary permit which would allow me to own/cary a defensive sidearm.

    What is the permitting process and how do I go about it?

    Is there any way to get one through a loophole or special circumstance? perhaps become a part time volunteer deputy or armorer for a local precinct?

    I was trying to read NYC's penal code to determine what is and what is not allowed, and it seems that percussion guns are legal and unregulated?

    could I obtain and cut down an old muzzleloading double to keep around the house in case of emergency?

    It also seems like long guns made before 1893 are unregulated as well under NYC law? could I get an original 1887 Winchester?

    If firearms are totally unobtainable what other options do I have that are legal? pocketknife? mace? tazer? walking stick?

    Any help/Advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I really don't want to screw up my future, so I have to be 100% absolutely legal in everything that I do (it seems like an easy city to accidentally break the law even with the best intentions)

    If there are any members who are NYC residents I'd love to meet up and talk about how to stay legal in this city. I'll even buy the coffee.
  2. Trebor

    Trebor Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    I'm not in NYC so I can't give you specific answers.

    I will say that NYC has one of the toughest handgun laws in the nation. Google the Sullivan law and read from there.

    My understanding is that just to get a permit to purchase and keep a handgun at your residence takes up to $1,000, involves a huge amount of complicated paperwork, and can take months and months to obtain.

    Getting a CCW permit is all but impossible, unless you are a celebrity or are VERY politically connected.

    As far as I know, there are no workarounds or easy ways around the law. I don't believe NYC allows armed reserve officers, so unless you want to apply to be a full time NYCPD cop, that route is out.

    My understanding is that long guns are not quite as tightly regulated, but there is still a permit and registration system at both the NY state and city level.

    There are attorney's who specialize in helping people navigate the NYC gun laws to buy and possess handguns. That should give you an idea how complex navigating the whole system can be.

    I'm sure someone from NYC will respond sooner or later. Like I said, I'm not in the state, so my understanding might be wrong in one or more areas.

    Oh, one last thought: It will be at least a few years before the "Heller" decision affects NYC. The city has to be sued, then the case has to wind it's way through the courts and appeals, and then if the plantiff wins, the city has to come up with new "reasonable" regulations. Expect everything to be drawn out as much as possible. The whole process will take several years, minimum, in my estimation.
  3. Rokyudai

    Rokyudai Member

    Jul 25, 2007
  4. CWL

    CWL Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    I don't know how you can be going from CA to NYC and think that you will be able to get a CCW.

    Home permits are possible but not easy.

    It would be more fruitful to look for alternative means to protect yourself while outside of your residence.
  5. azhunter122

    azhunter122 Member

    Aug 16, 2008
    stay the hell out of NYC! AT ALL COSTS lol. You won't be carrying unless you are a millionaire or something. Who needs a gun anyways!
  6. AJAX22

    AJAX22 Member

    Nov 9, 2005
    I have to be here, the school is here, I got in and I can afford to go (its a miracle on both counts)

    I know it will be difficult and a pain in the butt to get, but that's why I'm asking about unregulated items.... percussion??? antique???

    right now I would like to focus on getting some form of shotgun for the house, and something (anything) that I can slip in my pocket legally and cary for personal protection.

    I would also like to know if anyone knows of a good shooting range in the city where (once properly permitted) I can take a firearm to test it and make sure it is reliable for home defense.

    I personally feel that I may be able to do the 2A the maximum amount of good by being a subversive 2A rights influence inside a prominent institution like Columbia.

    The children of people who have influence attend this school, If I can win them over to the 2A it will be a much more meaningful victory than preaching to the choir.

    So please, Less NYC bashing (its easy, but pointless)

    I really need all the help I can get to understand what is/is not legal in this city.
  7. Trebor

    Trebor Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    Just be aware that even if NYC *and* NY State allow you to possess blackpowder handguns without going through the permiting process, that does NOT mean you can then carry a blackpowder handgun.

    If you get caught with a blackpowder handgun, even one regarded as an "antique" under Federal law or one that is not considered a "firearm" under Federal or NY state law, you can still be charged with "carrying a dangerous weapon."

    The thinking is that a blackpowder pistol can still be a "dangerous weapon" even if it is not legally considered a "firearm" and so you can still be charged.

    Now, I'm not in NY, like I said, so you'd have to check NY state *and* NYC city law to know for sure. But, just wanted you to realize that just because a BP firearm *might* be unregulated, that doesn't mean you can legally carry it.

    To be honest, I don't think you're going to find any "loophole" or any way around NY City's onerous permiting process.
  8. ColinthePilot

    ColinthePilot Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    I don't even know anymore
    Get the long gun permit and a shotgun for home protection. Forget carrying while you're in NY. You're from California, you should be used to not being able to carry. I grew up in Maryland and for that reason, I believe, don't feel naked when I'm not carrying.
    Get through school, and find a job in a state that doesn't rob its serfs...I mean sheep...I mean citizens of the right to self defense.
    Good luck.
  9. AjayofCanada

    AjayofCanada Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Saskatchewan Canada
    Be thankful you don't live up north in Canada like me. We don't have CCW up here. I can only shoot my M&P at the range, that is it. But the criminals up here must know of some secret carry permit or something, because they all carry guns but I can't. Don't get me wrong, I am allowed to defend myself, I just can't prepare for it in advance. You can always improvise and grab a garbage can lid as a shield or something. LOL
  10. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

    May 31, 2008
    Forget the carry permit, it's not going to happen under any circumstance. As a non resident, I doubt you will even be able to get a pistol premises, target, or hunting permit.

    In NYS, you can possess, not carry, an unloaded black powder pistol. If you load it, it becomes a regular pistol subject to license requirements, even for hunting. If you carry it, it becomes an "imitation pistol", also illegal to carry. Same for any ancient or lookalike pistol.

    In addition to NYS law, NYC has it's own "administrative code", which bans everything including BB & pellet guns of all types.

    You probably will be able to obtain a permit for rifle or shotgun, but you must appear, in person only, to even pick up the application and pay the fee for the application, and I think a print fee. The application location is in Queens, though not far from a subway.

    If you have a friend with a residence outside of NYC, buy or bring your long gun there & store it there, no license required outside NYC for long guns.

    There is a public range in Yonkers, just outside the city, where you can shoot .22 rifle. Also in Westchester County, further north of the city, there is a public range run by the West. Co. parks dept, Blue Mt. Sports Center, where you can shoot. They have ranges for .22 rifle, large bore, and trap & skeet. Also archery if you are so inclined. Google the rec depts for Yonkers & West. Co. to find them.

    If you are seen on the street with a gun, which must be cased at all times, someone will no doubt call the police.

    You will also find the PC pendulum has swung very far at Columbia, don't expect to find too many people sad about your inability to carry a gun. I assure you there will be no organized protests in your behalf.;)
  11. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    Deep in the valley
    Temporary, non-resident in NYC.
    ZERO chance.
  12. AJAX22

    AJAX22 Member

    Nov 9, 2005
    If I truly do have zero chance of owning an operable firearm in NYC, doesn't that make for a perfect post heller case if I apply and am denied?

    I'm here for the next 3 years like it or not.

    Even if we forget about CCW (heller didn't cover that expressly)

    what about antique or percussion shotguns for the home?

    I would like to have the means to defend myself and my wife in our own home.

    Also... on the NYC long gun application it mentions two letters of good character from members of the community.... does it mean the immediate community? (as in NYC proper) or will I be able to get some letters from CEO's and CFO's of companies that I've worked for in other states and use them as references?

    What counts as an NYC resident (to NYC)? I have an apartment leased in my own name on the upper west side in Manhattan, I have utility bills in my name, I am a full time student... I just kept my CA drivers license because all the cars and motorcycles that I own are all kept in CA and I don't want to abandon my CA residency, I have a permanent mailing address over there and as near as I can figure I should qualify for dual residency.

    Are there any NYC gun owners groups who can help walk me through the process?)
  13. AntiqueCollector

    AntiqueCollector Member

    Mar 13, 2007
    Antiques are firearms in NY if you simply have the components to load it (powder, balls, etc.). In NY state you don't need as far as I know any permit or license to own a shotgun or normal hunting rifle, but NYC is a different can of worms. You do need a license/permit to have even a shotgun there. I never thought I'd ever say this, but you'd be better off in CA as a gun owner, NYC is just that bad...
  14. AJAX22

    AJAX22 Member

    Nov 9, 2005
    are there any exemptions?

    does the percussion gun have to be loaded/primed/capped to be a firearm or is it just possession of necessary components?

    Is there an appeals process if I am denied a permit upon application?

    Are there any corporate exemptions that I could use? I don't mind forming an LLC or trust if it is easier for a corporation to own firearms than an individual.
  15. jahwarrior

    jahwarrior Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Dickson City, PA
    forget it. unless you have a zillion dollars and an attorney on retainer, you're NOT getting a carry permit. you're not even going to get a permit to own, so get it out of your head. the only shot you have is getting a long gun permit; you should probably apply for a hunting/sportsman's permit, and buy a shotgun for "skeet shooting". the only way you're getting a handgun is illegally, which no one here will advise you to do. NYC is so strict on weapons, even carrying OC/pepper spray, a good pocket folder, or an impact weapon, is a felony offense. the last time i visited NYC, i bought an aluminum baseball bat, a catcher's mitt, and a ball. i also kept camping gear in my van, like a tomahawk, and a khukuri "machete". i'll admit to carrying a knife and some OC spray; i had my kids with me, and i wasn't taking any chances.
  16. SCMtns

    SCMtns Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Santa Cruz Mtns, CA
    From what I've understood over the years, legal concealed carry is only possible if you're a movie star or politician in the Bay Area (where I live) and NY (which I used to live fairly close to in far NE PA).

    Friends who've lived in the city have told me that it's really worth it to hire a lawyer for the whole long gun permit process. Since concealed carry is out of the question, a long gun's all you need anyway. A 12-ga pump is probably your best bet.

    I don't know what legal options you have for little BS toy weapons you could carry in your pocket, but I can't think of a single one I would take seriously. I'm pretty sure all the good ones are against the law: sap, brass knuckles, etc. If you're not trained in the use of whatever it is, you're probably worse off breaking it out and committing one hand and your entire strategy to it than you are keeping your hands empty and focusing your efforts on either getting away or inflicting the type of damage you could learn from boxing, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, etc. At up-close and personal NYC ranges, disarm techniques can be amazingly easy to pull off with a little practice and good hand speed. Chokes are your best friend, especially against a larger opponent-- there must be about a thousand ways to cut off the blood to the human head, from all different positions and angles

    That brings me to my main point: I know there are great places to train these things in NYC, because I've been to a few and have friends who train at a couple more. (Matt Serra's got a great place out there, and Renzo Gracie's somewhere in the city-- I forget where.) Like you, I'm not allowed to carry out here in CA, but it doesn't both me that much. Given how long I've been training full-contact mma (~9 yrs), I feel like the criminals need to worry about me, not the other way around. I know-- I could still get shot, same as anybody else, but I'll be putting up a damn good fight.

    I visited a Sambo academy somewhere near Times Square one time and had a great workout and a great time. Really cool people, great fighting techniques, great instructor. I was basically on a "training vacation" with a good friend from Long Island who's been doing brazilian jiu jitsu for 13 years or so-- we went on a circuit of open mats and sparring sessions around the NYC/Long Island area, and the owner of the Sambo school was a friend of his who put on a special class/workout/open mat for us. I was really impressed with what he taught his guys, how hard they went and how much fun they had. Of all the places I saw out there, that's the one I'd join if I lived there. If you're interested, I'd be glad to find out from my friend what the name of the place was.

    If you're in college, you're probably fairly young and in decent shape, right? Now's the time to train to fight, while you've still got the energy and you're not all old and beat up yet. You'll be glad for the rest of your life that you did, and you'll meet a lot of cool people. (Just like the gun community.)

    Hope this helps you make the best of a crappy self-defense situation.
  17. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    Lexington, SC
    Short answer: No and No

    Long answer: 1) become a cop
    2) become rich, famous and/or a celebrity and be prepared to
    become much less rich while paying lawyers (and others?)
    lots of money

    Long answer to part #2, see long answer to part #1
  18. Trebor

    Trebor Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    NYC is going to use this to deny your application based on your California residency. They require you to be a NY state and NYC city resident and if you are maintaining a California DL that is enough for them to deny the application.

    They do NOT have to accept any sort of "dual residency" argument. They make the rules and decide how they will be applied.

    In fact, NYS might not even let you have a general long gun permit because of the residency issue. I don't know for sure on that one though.

    You aren't making it easier on yourself by maintaining your California residency.

    There is going to be no "easy" way for you to get a firearms license and/or NYC pisol permit. If you keep your California residency you are just making it that much harder on yourself on top of everything else.

    Now, there are attorneys that specialize in helping NYC residents navigate the permiting process.

    Once you are in NYC (with all your guns still in California) you should go to the local shooting range and ask around for info on attorneys. See if there is a NY State Pistol Association or some such and ask there as well.

    Once you find an attorney familiar with NY State and NYC laws and regs regarding firearms, explain your situation to him and ask his advice. He may or may not charge for a single visit to explain your options.

    Then, take his advice. You may need to accept that you aren't going to be able to do what you want to do. Or, he might be able to guide you through the process.

    In any event, unless you have VERY deep pockets, don't except to get a permit by filing suit and becoming the next post-Heller poster boy.

    And yes, NYC wants references from people in NYC. That's just something else they can use to deny you.
  19. K-Romulus

    K-Romulus Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    Somewhere in Monkey County, MD
    $450 for a three-year pistol license!?
    $250 to register ONE shotgun?!

    Multiple notarized letters of reference just to APPLY for a permit!?

    Remember this BS the next time you hear Bloomberg or some other anti-RKBA tool talk about "reasonable restrictions."

    To keep it on point, I do know that Spyderco-type folding lockblade knives are totally illegal under NYC's "gravity knife" statute, no matter the blade length. If any police officer CAN HOLD THE BLADE and flick the knife to lock open (meaning you need to press something to release the blade to close it again), then it is illegal. Bladeforums.com is a good source for gasket-blowing among "knife enthusiasts" over this law. I think the Bladeforum and Spyderco forum consensus was that the Spyderco UK or similar pocket knives that did NOT lock in any way were OK (but I don't think anyone tested that idea out on NYPD).

    I'm not sure about pepper spray. You could always go the "tactical fountain pen" route and pick up an aluminum-bodied pen to use as a kubaton. (I have a Parker and Rotring)

    Within the past two years there was a nutball at St. John's?...err, John Jay? . . College (located somewhere in NYC) who tried a campus shooting with a muzzleloader. Breathless NYC-area media outlets reported on the "musket loophole" that was "endangering lives" (blackpowder long guns were basically unregulated in NYS/NYC). There was some sort of attempt to "close that loophole" but I don't remember what happened. I don't know about blackpowder pistols.
  20. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

    May 31, 2008
    Nice range in Manhattan at 20 W 20th St, West Side Rifle & Pistol Range.

    I don't think you will need any help for a long gun permit, but they would know who to contact if you do.
  21. Snipe315

    Snipe315 Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    I feel your pain.

    I'm a NYC native that is currently residing the California. Despite what non-California people post about the gun laws sucking here, they sure are better than the NYS/NYC laws!


    For personal defense while out & about, I think something like a Leatherman Wave would be legal (it is after all, a multi-tool). :rolleyes:

    You can also carry something like the Surfire E2DL flashlight.


    Stay Safe. Stay Legal.

    Enjoy the Big Apple.
  22. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    I was up in NYC a few weeks ago. While I was there, I had to visit the one shooting range in Manhattan open to the public - the West Side Pistol and Rifle Range:


    Since I was from NC, he had a lot of questions for me - and I had a lot of questions for him. It turns out that a lot of what I have heard about about guns NYC on the web was rumor.

    Here's what I remember:

    • A premises license, which allows you to keep a loaded gun in your house is pretty easy to get. One of the guys who was behind the counter showed me his license, with two columns of guns on the back. He really acted like it was no big deal to get one - speaking in terms of difficulty, not philosophy. I think that I recall that you need a driver's license, proof of residence and a clean record. You may also have to provide fingerprints.
    • A carry permit was very hard to get until/unless you could demonstrate that your job compelled you to carry lots of money. Evidently, its' relatively easy for nightclub owners/managers to get a carry license.

    My guess is that you are going to have to decide which one state you you want to claim for residency. I've never heard of a state that had a notion of "dual residency" (maybe there are some, and I just don't know it). I think each state is allowed to define residency as it wishes, at least with regard to licensing provisions, etc. I think that there are federal provisions with regard to residency for voting purposes, but I think states may pretty much have free reign after that.

    My advice is not to worry too much about the issue. I spent a week on the upper West Side - not too far from Columbia - and never felt any issues. I doubt that a carry permit would be that useful. Most of your trips outside your apartment will be to Columbia, or to party. :) I am 100% certain that Columbia won't let you carry a weapon on their property, and I doubt that you can carry in nightclubs/bars anyway (at least you can't in NC).

    Relax and enjoy Manhattan - one of the most amazing places on earth (for me). You'll be in a city with more food and theater and cultural variety than any place I have ever been, and you'll be at one of the top universities in the country (if not the world). Everyday I was there, I walked from the Village to the Upper West side, and just reveled in the variety of people and cultures in that city. It's the most walkable place in the world.

    I love Manhattan. I know that's not real popular here at THR :), but I'd rather be on the streets of Manhattan than just about any other place on earth. The Cameron Highlands of Malaysia are probably in 2nd place, but there's a big gap between #1 and #2. If I could afford it - and could convince my nature-loving wife - I would move there tomorrow.

    I was talking to my mom just before I left. She grew up in the Bronx in a "not very good" neighborhood (according to her), and married a career Naval Officer. She's lived in many places both coasts, lived in Guam, and driven back and forth across the country a half dozen times before there were Interstates. She summed up my feelings well - "Every place else is just boring."

    I am guessing that not everyone on THR will agree with this post! :)

  23. hnk45acp

    hnk45acp Member

    Jun 29, 2006
    This is how you have to do it.
    1. First you need to be a resident of the city, get an apartment preferably by yourself.
    2. You need to get a NYS drivers license
    3. Go to 1 police plaza get an application, fill it out or go to West Side Pistol Range 20 W. 20th St bet 5th & 6th ave and have them help you fill it out.
    4. You will need 2 notarized character letters, fingerprint card (get at your local precinct or at 1 police Plaza, 2 passport type pics, utility bill (phone or electric only!) $340 Money order plus $99 Money order for fingerprints
    5. Submit all of the above, wait for your interview and in 6-8 months you will have a premise permit.

    Not easy, it may mean you can't live in campus housing as I'm sure that Columbia has a no firearms clause in their dorm leases

    good luck and you can PM me if you have any questions
  24. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    And to add a little bit. In NYC you need a permit for ALL firearms owned. In NYS, you only need a permit for handguns. You could move to CT and commute, but you'd miss out on a lot of the cool stuff in the city. NYC is much safer than cities like Detroit or New Orleans. NYC has the largest contingent of police on the streets of ANY major US city. So you have that going for you. You can probably get pepper spray as well. Since you can't carry at school, you'd be limited as to what you could do with the firearm anyway. You're not going to be able to get a CCW in NYC, so just forget about it entirely. In short, do your time in college, get out, get a good job outside of NYC, move out, get whatever gun you like.

    Actually, you CAN carry in bars in NYS.

    You are so right. I swear if NYC had "shall issue" CCW, I'd move there in a heartbeat. I love being able to walk everywhere. I love NY in the fall. I love the arts scene. There's a reason NYC has the largest population of any city in the country and a population roughly equal to the ENTIRE population of Canada.

    Also, my biggest worry as a Californian would be WINTER. :D
  25. S4gunn

    S4gunn Member

    May 20, 2008
    SF, CA
    Q: What about a crossbow?
    I found regulations about hunting but what about possession in your house?

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