New York State’s Tough New Gun Laws


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New York's SAFE Act bans many previously-legal guns. Image by m4tik

New York’s SAFE Act bans many previously-legal guns. Image by m4tik

NY Gun Law: New Offenses and Increased Penalties Introduced

The law also creates new offenses and increases penalties for others.

  • Magazines that contain more than seven bullets are banned. Those in the state who have magazines that hold eight or more bullets have one year to sell or otherwise dispose of these magazines out of state. After a year, anyone who possesses such magazines is guilty of a misdemeanor. During the year, the magazines can contain no more than seven rounds.
  • Anyone whose firearm is stolen has 24 hours to report the theft. Failure to do so will result in a misdemeanor offense.
  • Increased penalties will also be imposed for anyone who takes a firearm onto school property or on a school bus. Previously a misdemeanor, this offense has been upgraded to a Class E felony.
  • Penalties have also been increased for the use of a firearm in the commission of a violent felony. Using an unloaded weapon in such a crime is a Class D felony while possessing a loaded gun is a Class C felony.
  • The legislation also includes a “Webster provision,” named after the New York town where a man set fire to a home and then fired on first responders, killing two of them.  This section is also referred to as “Mark’s Law.” The penalty for the intentional shooting and killing of a first responder is increased to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Penalties will be increased for persons who are members of a gang and who engage in violent activities.
  • Anyone who has an assault weapon that was legal but is now banned can keep it. But they must register the firearm within a year or face penalties.

Gun Permits Suspended for Mentally Ill Patients and Domestic Abusers

If a health care worker determines a person had made a threat to illegally use a firearm or if they are found to pose a risk to themselves or others, the medical professional will be required to report them to the Division of Criminal Justice Services. If that department determines the person has a valid gun permit, the permit will be suspended and any firearms the person has will be taken away.

As long as the health care workers make their reports in good faith, they will be protected from any civil and criminal liability, which means they can’t be sued.

When persons are accused of domestic abuse and a temporary or permanent restraining order is issued, under certain subscribed circumstances, any license they have to legally possess firearms will be suspended or revoked.

Where a person charged with a criminal offense is found to be or even pleads not responsible by reason of mental defect, his or her license to possess firearms will be revoked and their weapons seized.

Gun Legislation Regulates Safe Storage of Firearms

This part of the law is meant to try and prevent what happened in Newtown, Connecticut. While Nancy Lanza was legally entitled to own firearms, she lived with her son who was obviously unstable.

Gun owners who live with someone whom they have reason to believe would be disqualified under federal law from legally possessing a firearm must keep their weapons in a safe storage depository such as a safe. Failing that, the guns must have a safety lock rendering them incapable of firing. The lock need not be present when the registered owner has possession and control over the weapon.

SAFE Act: New York Gun Ban

The SAFE Act – will it keep New Yorkers any safer? Only time will tell. The portion of the law banning new categories of assault weapons took effect immediately after the law was passed, although owners of these now illegal weapons can keep them. The only requirement is that these grandfathered assault weapons must be registered within a year. All other provisions of the NY SAFE Act will be implemented at a later date.


New York Senate,  S2230-2013: Enacts the NY SAFE Act of 2013. (2013). Accessed January 17, 2013.

Policy Mic, New York Gun Control: Toughest Gun Laws in America Won’t Solve Anything. (2013). Accessed January 17, 2013.

New York Times, Sweeping Limits on Guns Become Law in New York. (2013). Accessed January 17, 2013.

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