You need to know how to get a gun license online through the NYPD if you hope to lawfully possess a handgun in New York City.
With limited exceptions, you may not possess a pistol or a revolver in the City without a license issued by the New York City Police Department. You may not possess an assault weapon anywhere in the state.
The right to carry a handgun in another state doesn't give you the right to carry anywhere in New York. The right to carry in New York counties outside of the City doesn't give you the right to carry in the City.
Carrying a loaded handgun outside your home without a license is a very serious crime in New York, with a minimum penalty of 3½ years in prison if you're convicted.
Handgun licenses are issued through the License Division of the NYPD.
You must apply online. Paper applications are no longer accepted.
The online application process begins here.
Types of Handgun License
New York City has 9 types of handgun license:
- Premises Residence License
- Premises Business License
- Carry Business License
- Limited Carry License
- Carry Guard/Security License
- Gun Custodian License
- Retired Law Enforcement Officer License
- Special Carry License
- Special Carry Guard License
The two "special carry" licenses are for people with carry licenses issued by New York counties located outside of the City, who seek to carry a handgun in the City.
The City has a separate procedure for registering rifles and shotguns and issuing permits to possess them.
Handgun License Application
New York City's handgun license application is rigorous. It enables the NYPD to assess the risk of allowing you to lawfully carry a handgun.
The content of the online application is only visible to applicants who are in the process of completing it.
If the online application is similar to the written application from February 2015, which it probably is, then it requires you to describe:
- The type of license you're applying for.
- Your personal identifying information.
- Your current employment information.
- Previous handgun licenses issued to you, and previous handgun license applications that you've made.
- Your history of being discharged from employment.
- Your history of using of narcotics and tranquilizers.
- Your history of testifying and being subpoenaed to testify at "a hearing or inquiry conducted by any executive, legislative or judicial body".
- Your history of being "denied appointment in a civil service system".
- Your history of service in the armed forces of the United States or any other country.
- Military discharges that are "other than honorable".
- Rejections from military service.
- Your employment, business, or profession "where a need for a firearm exists".
- Each license or permit issued to you by a city, state, or federal agency.
- If you're an officer or director of a corporation, each police department license or permit issued to or applied for by the corporation, any of its officers, or any of its directors.
- If you're a partner in a partnership, each police department license or permit issued to or applied for by the partnership or by any of its partners.
- Your history of mental illness.
- Your history of disabilities that might affect your ability to safely possess or use a handgun.
- Your history of being arrested, indicted, or summonsed for any offense other than a parking violation, anywhere in the world – including cases that are dismissed or sealed.
- Your history of having orders of protection issued against you.
- Each occasion when police responding to a "domestic incident" that involved you.
- Each other name, or variation in spelling of your name, that you have ever used.
- Your residence history for the past 5 years.
- Your employment history for the past 5 years.
- Your intended method and location of safeguarding your handgun when not in use.
- The identity of the person who will safeguard your handguns if you die or become disabled.
It's a crime to knowingly make false statements in your application for a handgun license.
You must provide the following documents with your online application:
- 2 color photographs of you from the waist up, taken within the past 30 days, measuring 1½ inches × 1½ inches.
- Your birth certificate.
- If you're a US citizen born outside the US, your naturalization papers, or evidence that you derived citizenship from your parents.
- If you're a non-US citizen, your green card.
- If you're a non-US citizen who's resided in the US for less than 7 years, a "good conduct certificate" from your country of origin, and 2 letters of reference certifying your good character.
- If you served in the armed forces of the United States, your separation papers (DD 214), and your discharge papers.
- Proof of your present address.
- If you were ever arrested for any reason, a "certificate of disposition" for each arrest, and your sworn statement describing the circumstances of each arrest.
- If you were ever convicted of a felony, or a "serious offense" as defined in New York State Penal Law § 265.00(17), a "certificate of relief from disabilities".
- If you're applying for a license in connection with a business, proof that you own that business.
- Unless you seek a Premises Residence License, a "letter of necessity" explaining why you need the license, and containing the following information:
- A detailed description of your employment.
- An explanation why the employment requires the carrying of a concealed handgun.
- A statement acknowledging that the handgun shall only be carried during the course of and strictly in connection with your job, business or occupational requirements.
- A statement explaining the manner in which the handgun shall be safeguarded by you and/or your employer when it's not being carried.
- A statement indicating that you've been trained, or will receive training, in the use and safety of a handgun.
- A statement acknowledging that your employer (you if you're self-employed) is aware of the responsibility to properly dispose of the handgun and return the license to the NYPD License Division upon termination of your employment or cessation of your employer's business.
- A statement indicating that you and, if you're not self-employed, a corporate officer, general partner or proprietor, has read and is familiar with the provisions of New York State Penal Law Articles 35 (use of deadly force), 265 (criminal possession and use of a firearm), and 400 (responsibilities of a handgun licensee).
- If you're an employee seeking a Premises Business License in connection with your employment, a "letter of authorization" signed by the owner of the business.
- If you're applying for a "special license", your current county handgun license.
- Additional documents might be required at the time of your interview.
With your application for a handgun license, you must pay a $340 application fee, plus an additional $87 fingerprint fee.
Your must renew your handgun license every 3 years, and pay the same application fee.
Fees are payable to the "New York City Police Department" by credit card or money order.
The NYPD will take approximately 6 months to process your application.
If your application is approved, you'll receive a "Notice of Application Approval".
Upon receipt, you'll receive your handgun license by reporting in person to Room 152 at One Police Plaza in Manhattan, between 9:00 a.m. and noon, Monday through Thursday. If you fail to receive your license within 30 calendar days of the date on the Notice of Application Approval, the NYPD will cancel your license.
You will receive a copy of the New York City Handgun License Rules, which are published as Sections 5-21 to 5-33 of Title 38 of the Rules of the City of New York. You must become knowledgeable regarding these rules. Violating them can result in suspension or revocation of your handgun license.
If your license application is disapproved, you'll receive a written "Notice of Application Disapproval", which will state the reasons for disapproval.
If you wish to appeal disapproval of your application for a handgun license, you must submit an a document entitled "Appeal of Application Disapproval".
The Appeal of Application Disapproval is a sworn written statement addressed to the Division Head of the NYPD License Division. The Appeal of Application Disapproval must:
- Be submitted within 30 calendar days of the date on the Notice of Application Disapproval.
- Request an appeal.
- State each reason supporting the appeal.
- State your grounds for the appeal.
- Be signed by you and notarized under penalty of perjury.
The Division Head shall review your entire file. The Division Head won't consider documentation that wasn't submitted during the initial background investigation. The Division head won't interview you to discuss your appeal.
The Division Head will notify you whether your appeal is granted or denied.
If your appeal is denied, you'll receive a "Notice of Disapproval After Appeal" letter. This is the end of the NYPD administrative review process.
Final denial by the NYPD may be reviewed in Supreme Court through a special proceeding under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules
To proceed under Article 78, you must petition the Court to make a finding that denial of your application for a handgun license was:
- In violation of lawful procedure;
- Affected by an error of law; or
- Arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion.