Concealed Carry Laws In New York: What You Need To Know To Stay Legal

New York has some of the nation’s tightest concealed carry laws, due in part to the passage of the Concealed Carry Improvement Act of 2022, which the Attorney General‘s office indicated it would enforce, in the wake of a December 2023 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacating some, but not all, of the injunctions previously imposed by a lower court. To learn more about New York’s concealed carry laws and how New York gun owners can remain compliant, consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced New York weapon defense attorney at the Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald by calling 845.567.4820 today. 

Is Concealed Carry Legal in New York? 

Some degree of “concealed carry” – that is, carrying a weapon not obviously displayed in full view – is legal throughout the United States, pursuant to the decision of the United States Supreme Court in NYSRPA v. Bruen. However, individual states impose some restrictions on the locations in which concealed carry is legal (civilians are commonly prohibited from carrying loaded weapons, concealed or otherwise, into schools and many government buildings) and frequently establish requirements individuals must fulfill in order to legally carry concealed weapons. New York is one of several states that require individuals to obtain permits before carrying concealed weapons in a range of public spaces, with particular attention paid to what New York’s laws designate as “sensitive” spaces – primarily places of education, governance, and religious observance. 

A New York gun owner sliding handgun into jeans pocket; concealed carry concept.
A New York gun owner sliding handgun into jeans pocket; concealed carry concept.

What Is the NY Concealed Carry Decision? 

New York’s concealed carry laws have been the subject of a number of court cases. Perhaps the most famous “concealed carry” decision stemming from the laws of New York has been the decision issued by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in NYSRPA v. Bruen. According to the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), this decision has been impactful not only because of its immediate significance for the validity and enforcement of laws already on the books at the time the court took up the case, but because of the laws that have been enacted since the decision was issued, precisely in order to bring state laws into alignment with the Supreme Court’s ruling while at the same time achieving many of the regulatory goals of the legislation the SCOTUS decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen overturned. 

Supreme Court Ruling and New York Permitting Policies 

The 2022 SCOTUS decision overturned a blanket requirement that anyone wishing to carry a concealed weapon in the state of New York first obtain a permit for doing so. The court held that one clause in particular, requiring individuals requesting concealed carry permits to show that they had “proper cause,” over and above that experienced by the general public, for needing ready access to a weapon in self-defense, had no historical precedent in American jurisprudence and violated the spirit of the Second Amendment.

The ruling left in place several other provisions of New York’s gun control laws, such as the requirements for background checks and firearm safety training and regulations prohibiting individuals with certain prior convictions from possessing a firearm. Restrictions on carrying weapons into “sensitive” locations, such as schools and government buildings, remained unaffected, but were taken up by New York legislators in the wake of the court’s decision as part of a comprehensive effort to update the state’s gun laws in light of the ruling. 

Changes to Concealed Carry Laws After Supreme Court Decision 

After the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision invalidated portions of New York’s law regulating concealed carry of handguns, the state’s legislature responded by passing the Concealed Carry Improvement Act of 2022 to address the provisions SCOTUS had found unconstitutional. In addition to altering the language of the state’s permitting requirements, the Act made a number of other updates to modernize New York’s gun control laws. If you have questions about where you can legally carry a concealed weapon and the legal requirements for a New York gun permit, consider reaching out to an experienced New York gun defense lawyer with the Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald to discuss your legal rights under New York’s concealed carry laws.

Legal Challenges to the Concealed Carry Improvement Act 

The Concealed Carry Improvement Act, drafted and passed in response to the SCOTUS decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, has itself been the subject of legal challenges. In December 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on four cases that had raised a variety of First and Second Amendment challenges to the July 2022 law. Lower courts had issued injunctions blocking some of the Concealed Carry Improvement Act’s provisions. 

Reviewing all four cases in tandem, the appeals court upheld an injunction on a provision that would have required individuals applying for a gun permit in New York to disclose all social media accounts, including pseudonymous accounts, as well as separate injunctions on the law’s “restricted location provision” which had prohibited carrying firearms onto another party’s private property except when given express permission, either verbally or through signage, and on its prohibition on carrying firearms into places of religious observance. The Second Circuit vacated the remaining injunctions, and remanded all cases back to the lower courts to be reconsidered in light of the court’s instructions.

Types of Firearm Permits in New York State 

New York issues a number of distinct permits related to the possession of firearms. Broadly speaking, these permits can be categorized in terms of the type of possession (e.g., ownership for self-defense at home vs. concealed carry in public or on private property owned by others) and in terms of the type of firearm (e.g., permits for handguns vs. for assault weapons). The New York State Police website offers registration and recertification resources under three main headings: pistol permit recertification, assault weapon registration/recertification, and ammunition registration. 

New York Gun Permit Eligibility Requirements 

While the earlier version of New York law, requiring anyone applying for a concealed carry permit to show they had particular cause for needing to carry a weapon in public for self-defense, was struck down, New York’s current gun control laws still do impose a set of requirements individuals must meet in order to be eligible for a permit to carry a handgun or semi-automatic rifle in the state. These gun permit eligibility requirements include:

  • The applicant must be at least 21 years of age, or an honorably discharged veteran of the New York National Guard or any branch of the United States military.
  • The applicant must be of good moral character (permit applications require character references).
  • The applicant may not have a prior conviction for any felony or “serious offense” and must not be a fugitive from justice.
  • The applicant must not be addicted to, or unlawfully using, any controlled substance as defined by federal law under 21 U.S.C. § 802.
  • The applicant must not be subject to licensing restrictions, such as those commonly imposed as part of temporary protection orders in pending domestic violence cases.

Additional criteria establish residence or citizenship requirements, mandate disclosures of psychiatric diagnoses, and specify that the prospective licensee must be a person for whom “no good cause” exists to deny the permit request. Regulations restricting civilians from carrying weapons into locations defined as “sensitive” under § 261.01(e) of the Consolidated Laws of New York generally continue to apply, regardless of permit status or eligibility. 

Speak With a New York Gun Defense Lawyer 

A series of court challenges and legislative changes from 2022 forward have left many New York gun owners uncertain of what they must do to comply with the state’s concealed carry laws. While ensuring public safety is a crucial priority for state lawmakers, responsible gun owners throughout New York may have a number of questions about how to comply with the latest firearm regulations as they exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Consider scheduling a consultation with a New York gun defense attorney with The Law Office of Benjamin Greenwald to discuss the steps you can take to stay legal. Call 845.567.4820 to get started today.