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New York law criminalizes and often imposes strict sentences on any person who:

• Knowing that he or she is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, purchases or attempts to purchase a firearm from another person;1

• Knowing that it would be unlawful for another person to possess a firearm, purchases a firearm for, on behalf of, or for the use of the other person (a “straw purchase”);2

• Knowing that another person is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, disposes of a firearm by transferring it to the prohibited person;3

• Is not authorized to possess a handgun, short-barreled shotgun or rifle, or assault weapon, and who: 1) transfers such a weapon or large capacity ammunition feeding device to another person; or 2) possesses such a weapon with the intent to sell it;4

• Is not authorized to possess a handgun, short-barreled shotgun or rifle, or assault weapon and transfers such a weapon to another person who is, or reasonably appears to be, under age 19 and not licensed to possess such a weapon;5

• Is over the age of eighteen and, knowingly solicits, requests, commands, importunes or intentionally aids a person under age 16 to knowingly and unlawfully sell, exchange, give or dispose of a handgun, short-barreled shotgun or rifle, or assault weapon;6

• Knowing that a written instrument (such as a firearms sales form) contains a false statement or false information, offers or presents it to a public office or public servant with the knowledge or belief that it will be filed with, registered or recorded in or otherwise become a part of the records of such public office or public servant;7

• Transports or ships firearms as merchandise.8 The regular and ordinary transport of firearms as merchandise is exempted if the person transporting such firearms, where he or she knows or has reasonable means of ascertaining what he or she is transporting, provides written notice to the local head of law enforcement at the place of delivery.9 The penalty for a violation of this provision is steeper if a machine gun, assault weapon, large capacity ammunition magazine, or five or more handguns are transported or shipped;10

• Willfully defaces any firearm;11 or

• Knowingly buys, receives, disposes of, or conceals a firearm which has been defaced for the purpose of concealment or prevention of the detection of a crime or misrepresenting the identity of the firearm.12

The possession by any person of a defaced firearm is presumptive evidence that such person defaced the weapon.13

New York law criminalizes making available or otherwise transferring a “community gun” which aids a person in committing a crime. A “community gun” is defined as a gun that is shared among two or more people, at least one of whom is prohibited from possessing it.14

See Multiple Purchases & Sales of Firearms in New York for additional laws designed to curb gun trafficking.


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  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.17(1).[]
  2. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.17(2).[]
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.17(3).[]
  4. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.11.[]
  5. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.16.[]
  6. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.14.[]
  7. N.Y. Penal Law § 175.30.[]
  8. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.10(2).[]
  9. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.20(a)(9).[]
  10. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.10(2).[]
  11. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.10(6).[]
  12. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.10(3).[]
  13. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.15(5).[]
  14. N.Y. Penal Law § 115.20.[]