How to Buy a Gun in New York City

Buying a gun, especially a handgun, in NYC is a very complex and long process. Expect to devote some serious effort into assembling all of the required documentation. Allow for at least 6 months for the process to be complete. 

In this article I will detail the process for buying both handguns and rifles/shotguns in New York City. More detailed instructions are also available on the linked application forms. 

Handgun Permits:

NYC has a gun licensing department located at 1 Police Plaza, Room 110, New York, New York 10038. You can go there to pick up the forms to apply for a handgun license, or use the link below to find the applications online. 

The application for a handgun license must be either printed and filled out with a typewriter or filled out online and then printed. They will not accept handwritten forms. 

You can find the form here: NYC Handgun License Application.

You will need to turn your application in in person along with all of the required identification and documents, detailed below. 

Fee: $340 for the permit application, $89.75 for fingerprinting. Certified check, bank check, money order or credit card payments are accepted, and non-refundable. Make checks and money orders payable to New York City Police Department. 

Special Classifications of Handgun Permits in NYC:

In New York City, there are several different classes of handgun permit:

  • Business or Residence Premise License: Authorizes the holder to only posses the gun at the business or residence on the license, and to and from a gun range, as long as it is unloaded and in a locked case with ammunition stored separately. 
  • Carry Business License: Specific to a single firearm, business and person. Any changes or transfers require authorization from the licensing officials. 
  • Limited Carry Business License: A more restricted version of the Carry Business License with specific restrictions such as specific times and/or location restrictions. 
  • Special Carry License: A special business license used if the business also has a basic county license. 
  • Carry Guard License: Issued for security guard duty and valid for a certain employee in the active employment of a business that is named on the license. 

Shotgun/Rifle Permits:

Permits for rifles and shotguns can be obtained, in person, at the Rifle and Shotgun Section, 120-55 Queens Blvd, B-11, Kew Gardens, New York 11424. 

You will need the following form completed (typewritten or filled out on your computer then printed): NYC Rifle/Shotgun Permit Application.

In addition, please see the identification and documents section below for the additional information you will need to submit your application. 

Fee: $140 for the permit application and $91.50 for fingerprints. Certified check, bank check, money order or credit card payments are accepted, and non-refundable. Make checks and money orders payable to New York City Police Department. 

Waiting Period:

The process of getting either handgun or long gun license is a long one, and can take 3-6 months. Start well in advance of a purchase. 

Age Requirements:

Whether you are purchasing a rifle or a handgun, in NYC the minimum age is 21. 

Identification and Documents:

The following list is needed for BOTH handguns and long guns (followed by some additional documentation for handguns). In addition, there may be more documentation requested by the NYPD when you submit your application. 

To prepare for your visit with the appropriate office, bring all of the following identification and prepared documents in their original, plus one photocopy:

  • Two 1.5”x1.5” passport style photos (four for the shotgun/rifle permit), less than 30 days old. 
  • Social Security Card 
  • Original or certified copy of your birth certificate, or,  
  • Non-US Citizens and Naturalized Citizens: Proof of your citizenship status and age such as a passport, military record, naturalization records or alien registration cards. 
  • Payment by certified check, bank check, money order or credit card. 
  • Certification of Relief from Forfeitures and Disabilities: If you are a convicted of a felony or other serious offense, you will need to contact the Division of Probation, the Department of Parole, or the court that convicted you.
  • Arrest Information: Any arrest, even if sealed, dismissed or expunged, needs to be disclosed with your application. In addition, you will need to contact the court involved in the case to receive a “Certificate of Disposition” of the charges. In addition, you will need a typed, signed and notarized statement explaining the circumstances of each arrest. 
  • Veterans: Your DD214 (separation papers). If your discharge was not honorable, you will be required to submit a notarized statement explaining the cause of your less than honorable discharge.
  • Commitment Waiver: If you have been committed (voluntary or involuntary) for mental health, addiction or alcoholism, then you will need a physician to write a letter certifying that they have reviewed your history and deemed you fit for possession of a firearm, and that you present no danger to yourself or others.  
  • Proof of Address: Examples include: Utility bill no older than 60 days or a notarized lease. If you do not have any utilities in your name, but have a roommate that does, they will accept a notarized letter from that person stating that you do indeed live at that address and that they are aware of your application for a firearm license.
  • Notarized Acknowledgement: If you use the links to the applications given in the first section of this article, you will notice that one of the pages of the application is named “Acknowledgement of Person Agreeing to Safeguard Firearms). You will need to fill out this form, print it out, and go to a notary with the person that agrees to safeguard your gun in the event of your death or incapacity. 
  • Affidavit of Co-habitant: This will need to be filled out and notarized for every person over 18 that lives at your residence. The form can be found in the application packets linked above.

Additional Documentation for Handguns:

  • Order of Protection: If you have ever been the subject of an Order of Protection OR you have issued one against someone else, your application will also need to include the court of issuance, date of issuance, complainants name and current contact information, their relationship with you, and the reason for the Order of Protection. 
  • Proof of Business Ownership: There are additional filing requirements for proof of business if you are applying for a Carry Business, Limited Carry Business, Special Carry, or Business Premises license. Documentation includes names of owners and all corporate officers, corporate book and filing receipt, certificate of incorporation, meeting minutes, partnership agreements or business certificates, proof of address for the business, and any required licenses for the business. 
  • Letter of Necessity: This form, included with your application packet, is required for any carry license requests, including if you are seeking a carry permit for the purpose of employment. 

Schedule an interview:

Usually you will receive a letter of notice from the appropriate office of the NYPD within 1-3 months letting you know you are ready to schedule your interview and/or submit additional documentation. 

You will likely be asked to put together three reference letters from people that have known you for at least 2 (sometimes 5) years. The letters should include up to date contact information, including a phone number, and confirm that you are of “good moral character.” These letters will need signed by the reference, and notarized. 

To prepare for the interview, spend some time reviewing the gun policies that are included in your application packet, and whatever educational materials that you were given when you submitted your original application. In particular, understand the laws regarding the specific permit you are filing for as well as the laws for the use of deadly force and when it is warranted. 

Sample questions MAY include (but are not limited to):

  • What is your purpose for owning a gun?
  • How will you transport and store your gun and ammunition?
  • Do you have any history of having been assaulted or robbed? Provide details. 
  • What is appropriate use of deadly force?

It can take another 1-3 months to get another letter with an approval or denial. Note that you have only 4 months to file an appeal if you are denied. You will only have 30 days to take this letter back to the office of issuance, and will be given the license and Purchase Authorization. It is now legal for you to purchase your firearm. 


  • Rifle and shotguns: All lawful sales of long guns in NYC will include the dealer filling out form PD 641-121, and mailing two copies to the appropriate office. The owner of the gun is responsible to call the office to verify that the registration is received. Call the Rifle and Shotgun Section at 718-520-9300.
  • Handguns: Your handgun will require inspection at the License division within 72 hours of purchase (including weekends!). They need to be NYC compliant. The make, model and serial number MUST match your completed Purchase Authorization form. Make sure your handgun is unloaded, with no ammo on your person, trigger locked, in a locked case. Let the people at the front area aware that you are bringing your weapon in for an inspection. 


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