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Thread: Wikipedia 'Gun Laws in the United States'

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Delaware County, New York, USA

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    The subject 'Gun Laws in the United States' is wide open for entries. How about OCDO members helping out? This is what I wrote for NY:


    New York State, by many measures, is practically the strictest state in the nation as far as the procedure for obtaining a handgun (pistol) license is concerned. However, unlike many of the other extremely strict states (such as New Jersey and Illinois), once a New York State pistol license is obtained (a difficult process indeed) the restrictions on carrying handguns vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

    Handgun posession in New York State is strictly limited to individuals who are in posession of a current, valid, handgun license (pistol license) issued by a jurisdiction (county or major city) within New York State. Pistol licenses are not issued to non-residents (or even part-time residents), and no licensing reciprocity with any other state exists. There are no provisions whatsoever for an out-of-state handgun owner (other than law enforcement) to bring a handgun to, and carry it in, New York State.

    Simply traveling through New York State while in posession of a handgun, for any purpose, without a New York State pistol license, is legally risky. New York State law does include a very limited exception for passing through the state for target competition purposes, but the language is exceptionally strict. Traveling through New York City, even with a license issued from another jurisdiction within New York State, must be done carefully (locked box, in vehicle's trunk, no unnecessary stops).

    Application for a handgun license is through the individual's county (or major city) of primary residence, usually the police/sheriff's department, or a separate licensing authority (ie 'the pistol clerk'). After initial approval on the county level, the application is then passsed on to the New York State Police for further approval. The applicant will be required to ask close friends or associates to act as personal references, these individuals may be required to fill out lengthy forms attesting to the applicant's good character. Pistol licenses rarely take less than four months to approve, six months is typical. There is no 'shall-issue' provision in New York State pistol licensing law.

    Pistol licenses are generally of two types, carry or premises-only (most common in New York City). Restrictions can be placed on either type of license, for example, a number of jurisdictions allow handgun license holders to carry handguns only while in the field hunting (sportsman's license) and/or traveling to and from the range (target license). These restrictions, however, are administrative in nature; carrying a licensed, registered handgun outside of the restrictions indicated on the license should result in administrative (suspension, revocation) penalties only.

    All handguns posessed within New York State (except antiques or replicas of antiques) must be registered, with each handgun's registration indicated on the owner's pistol license. All handguns, including antiques and replicas, must be registered in order to be legally loaded and fired. Handguns registered within New York State are registered to one owner only, sharing use of a handgun is permissable only under highly controlled circumstances, such as at a target range with a certified range officer present. A pistol license is required to physically examine a handgun for purchase. A separate purchase document is required for each handgun purchase.

    In addition to laws pertaining to the entire state of New York, there are additional laws and statutes pertaining to licensing and permits in some of the major cities of the state; any city with a population of over 100,000 is allowed to pass additional laws. Cities with stricter laws include Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and New York City.

    The cost and renewal of handgun licenses vary from county to county. Importantly, handgun licenses issued in New York City are valid in the rest of the state, licenses issued outside of New York City are valid throughout New York State except New York City.

    Restrictions on New York State handgun licenses vary wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, it is practically impossible to be issued a carry pistol license in New York City, unless the license applicant is a celebrity or employed in the security industry. Most licenses issued in New York City are for on-premises possession only, carrying to and from the range, if allowed, must be done with special permission and must utilize a 'locked-box.' Periodic renewal fees, even on restricted carry licenses, are highly prohibitive as well. Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and several other suburban counties are only slightly less prohibitive, allowing a highly restricted 'to and from the range only' form of concealed carry.

    In contrast to 'practically no carry' New York City, and the many 'to-and-from-the-range-only' counties, many upstate New York counties issue handgun licenses that indicate no expiration date (lifetime issue), and/or allow unrestricted concealed carry of a loaded handgun (except for important exceptions such as schools or banks). Paradoxically, except for visiting New York City (which effectively invalidates any carry license), the restrictions (or lack thereof) as they appear on the license stay with the license as the individual travels from region to region within the state. For example, the holder of a Delaware County pistol license (unrestricted carry) can carry his handgun into a diner in Suffolk County, while his Suffolk County friend cannot.

    A small number of the most rural upstate counties do not specify a mode of carry at all, thereby allowing concealed or open carry of a handgun, similar to many of the rural states of the west. This striking dichotomy in New York State handgun license policies (upstate rural/downstate urban) is an outgrowth of three specific cultural forces; the strength of home rule in New York State, the prevalence of conservative political forces upstate, as well as the gun culture during the various hunting seasons in the rural counties. Not all of the most pro-gun counties of New York are far north or west, many a New York City tourist has been quite surprised at the prevalence of openly carried firearms of all types only several hours from home. Not paradoxically, however, do these counties report exceptionally low crime rates, and the tourists seem to agree.

    Rifles and shotguns do not have to be registered in any jurisdicion within New York State except for New York City, which requires registration. Laws pertaining to the handling of rifles and shotguns are in sharp contrast to those of handguns. For example, licensed carry of a handgun on one's person allows the handgun to be fully loaded, including within an automobile, while visiting a place of business or while crossing a public road while hunting. A rifle or shotgun cannot be kept loaded in any of the above circumstances except for a self defense emergency. A range officer would not normally take exception to a target shooter driving to the range and entering the parking lot carrying a licensed, loaded, holstered handgun, doing so with a loaded rifle or shotgun would cause quite a stir.

    Most of New York State gun laws are covered in two sections of New York Penal law. Article 265 - (265.00 - 265.40) FIREARMS AND OTHER DANGEROUS WEAPONS; Weapons Crimes, Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons, list definitions and legal violations. This sections includes the banning of possession of a handgun, ("firearm" under definition 3,) by anyone in New York State. Section 265.20 includes exemptions to the handgun ban including to those who have a license issued under Article 400 - (400.00 - 400.10) LICENSING AND OTHER PROVISIONS RELATING TO FIREARMS; Licenses to Carry, Possess, Hunting and Target, Repair and Dispose of Firearms.

    New York State is a particularly interesting case, because New York separates all of New England from the bulk of the United States. This means that under the Firearm Owners Protection Act, all people traveling through New York City and New York state with firearms must have them unloaded and locked in a hard case where they are not readily accessible (e.g. in the trunk of a vehicle) and can never be in possession of a high capacity feeding device made post ban.

    New York State has a ban that is an almost exact mirror of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, except that it does not have a sunset provision.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    , ,

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    Only one problem.

    [citation needed]

  3. #3
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    , Virginia, USA

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    Aw snap!

    But true. If you don't go through that and add citations to WP standards, somebody will more than likely just delete the whole thing.

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