See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
New York law defines a “Seller of ammunition,” as any person, firm or corporate entity engaging in the business of purchasing, selling, or keeping ammunition. This does not apply to private sellers.1
Licensing of Ammunition Sellers
Ammunition sellers in New York must register with the state police, except for ammunition sellers who are already validly licensed firearms dealers. Ammunition sales are prohibited except through licensed dealers or registered sellers of ammunition. The transfer of ammunition must occur in person.2
Record Retention Requirement for Ammunition Sales
Ammunition sellers and firearms dealers must, at the time of a transaction, record the transaction details (date, name, age, occupation, and residences of anyone transferring or receiving ammunition and also the amount, caliber, manufacturer’s name and serial number or other distinguishing information) in a record book to be maintained on the premises and made available for inspection by any law enforcement officer. This information is not considered a public record.3
Background Checks Before Transfer of Ammunition
An ammunition seller or firearms dealer may not transfer any ammunition to anyone other than a licensed dealer unless he or she conducts a check against records maintained in the state’s electronic database and receives a number identifying the transaction and signifying that the transferee is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the firearm or ammunition.4 The ammunition seller or gun dealer must also check a valid driver’s license or other photo identification of the prospective purchaser prior to transfer.
After the transfer, the transferee must indicate to the database that the transaction was completed at which time a record of the transaction, to be maintained for no longer than one year, will be made available to law enforcement but will not be made a part of the new firearms database for licenses and records or the new firearms registry. A record of the transaction may be shared with local law enforcement but will not be a public record. This requirement will not apply if the background check system is not operational or if a dealer or seller was issued a waiver from conducting a background check by the state police.5
Minimum Age to Purchase/Possess Ammunition
Regulation of Unreasonably Dangerous Ammunition
New York prohibits the possession of armor piercing ammunition with the intent to use it unlawfully against another.7 “Armor piercing ammunition” is any ammunition capable of being used in handguns that contains a projectile or projectile core constructed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or uranium.8
New York generally prohibits any person from knowingly possessing any bullet containing an explosive substance designed to explode or detonate upon impact.9
License to Purchase Handgun Ammunition
A firearms dealer may not sell any ammunition designed exclusively for use in a handgun to any person who is not authorized to possess a pistol or revolver.10 See Licensing of Gun Owners in New York for further information.
- N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(24).
- N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(7).
- N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(2).
- N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(3), (4).
- N.Y. Penal Law § 400.03(5).
- N.Y. Penal Law § 265.05.
- N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01(8).
- N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(18).
- N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01(7).
- N.Y. Penal Law § 270.00(5).