How To Sell a Gun in New York

Navigating the process of selling a gun in New York can be complex, with numerous federal and state regulations to consider. To ensure a legal and safe transaction, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria for private sales, background checks, licensing and registration requirements, and applicable exemptions and restrictions. This comprehensive guide will help you prepare your firearm for sale, and conduct a legally compliant transfer of ownership. By adhering to these guidelines and understanding the penalties for non-compliance, you can confidently sell your firearm in New York while avoiding legal and safety risks. Additionally, at the end of this article, we have a common questions section where we answer the most asked queries about gun ownership and transfer in NY.

Written by:
Manny Perovic
May 24, 2023
minutes read
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State Laws for Selling Guns Privately in New York

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The process of selling a gun as a private seller in New York requires compliance with state-specific eligibility criteria and regulations, trying to ensure responsible firearm ownership and usage. Eligibility for obtaining a firearms license in New York includes being at least 21 years old, having state residency, and having no prior felony or serious offense convictions.

Key gun regulations include the SAFE Act and universal background checks for firearm transactions. Additionally, private sales and disposals of firearms must adhere to state background check requirements, involving NICS or a licensed dealer, and comply with record-keeping and exemptions.

Eligibility for a Firearms License in New York

The eligibility criteria for obtaining a firearms license in New York include:

  • being at least 21 years old
  • a resident of the state
  • having no prior felony or serious offense convictions and must be of good character

Additionally, individuals who are ineligible to possess firearms under federal law are also restricted from possessing firearms in New York State.

Secure Ammunition Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act

New York Gun Regulations encompass various laws and requirements aimed at ensuring responsible firearm ownership and usage within the state. These regulations include the Secure Ammunition Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, which aims to prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining guns, and the implementation of universal background checks for buying, transferring, and selling firearms, even for private transactions.


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Reporting Requirements

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In New York, private sellers must notify local law enforcement within 72 hours of selling or transferring a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. Reporting requirements are an essential aspect of firearm ownership, ensuring that the necessary information about firearm transactions, thefts, or losses is accurately documented and communicated to the appropriate authorities. 

These requirements help maintain transparency, promote responsible gun ownership, and enable law enforcement agencies to track and monitor the circulation of firearms, ultimately contributing to public safety. Familiarizing yourself with these reporting obligations is crucial for legal and responsible firearm ownership.

Federal Laws and Considerations for Private Firearm Sales

Federal laws regulate private firearm sales in the United States, imposing specific requirements on sellers and buyers. Restrictions on selling firearms to individuals include factors such as criminal convictions, warrants, drug abuse, fugitive status, mental defects, and domestic violence crimes. 

The National Firearms Act of 1934 regulates the ownership and possession of various firearms, and the legal transfer of firearms between unlicensed individuals residing in different states requires shipping the firearm to a Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder in the recipient's state. Non-compliance with federal or state laws can result in penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or both.


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Federal Legal Restrictions for Selling Firearms to Certain Individuals

Federal legal restrictions apply to the sale of firearms to specific individuals, including those who fulfill any of the following criteria:

  • conviction (felony or misdemeanor) where the crime has a maximum imprisonment term exceeding 1 year
  • warrant (felony or out-of-state misdemeanor)
  • felony criminal charge
  • drug abuser
  • fugitive from justice
  • illegal alien
  • mental defect or commitment
  • dishonorable discharge from the armed forces
  • renounced U.S. citizenship
  • restraining order
  • a person convicted of a domestic violence crime.

Important Considerations

As per the National Firearms Act of 1934, ownership and possession of shotguns, rifles, machine guns, firearm mufflers, and silencers are regulated. The purchase of semi-automatic weapons is legal in most states, and the possession of automatic weapons made before 1986 is also legal as long as you obtain the proper tax stamp and go through the proper ATF channels.

It is illegal for an unlicensed individual to transfer a firearm to someone who does not reside in the same state. In general, for a legal transfer of a firearm to an unlicensed person residing in a different state, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder in the state of residence of the recipient, and be transferred by the FFL.

Penalties for non-compliance

If private sellers are discovered to be breaking federal or state laws while selling a gun, they could be subject to penalties including fines, imprisonment, or both.

Selling Guns as a Licensed Firearm Dealer

Revolver on wooden table

Selling firearms as a licensed dealer in the United States comes with its own set of requirements and legal considerations, including the federal background check process for transactions, licensing and registration requirements for gun dealers and ammunition sellers, and guidelines for license validity and renewal. 

By understanding and adhering to these regulations, dealers can ensure responsible and lawful distribution of firearms and ammunition, while promoting public safety and compliance with applicable laws.

Federal Background Check (when selling as a dealer)

The Federal Background Check is a crucial step in purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer in the United States. This process involves the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifying the buyer's eligibility to possess a firearm at the point of sale. By conducting this check, the system ensures that individuals with disqualifying factors, such as criminal convictions or restraining orders, are prevented from acquiring firearms, thus promoting public safety and responsible gun ownership.

Licensing and Registration

Licensing and Registration requirements for firearms in the United States vary by state and involve obtaining the necessary permits and licenses for gun dealers, ammunition sellers, and concealed weapon carriers. These requirements typically include background checks and adherence to specific state regulations. By understanding and complying with licensing and registration protocols, individuals and businesses can ensure responsible firearm ownership, sales, and transfers in accordance with applicable laws.

New York Requires that interested individuals obtain a cleared background check and firearm license before purchasing or owning a handgun or semi automatic rifle. The license should specify each weapon owned. 

Gun Dealers

Rifles on a shelf at a gun store

Gun Dealers are individuals or businesses engaged in the purchasing, selling, and disposing of firearms, and they must adhere to specific licensing requirements to operate legally. These requirements include obtaining a state license, undergoing background checks, and applying for the license in the city or county where their office is located. 

By complying with these regulations, gun dealers can ensure the responsible and legal sale and distribution of firearms while minimizing the risk of potential legal consequences.

License Validity and Renewal

License validity and renewal guidelines help ensure that firearm licenses remain current and that license holders continue to meet eligibility criteria. The duration of a license's validity varies depending on the location within the United States. 

In certain New York counties such as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester County, a license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver is valid for up to five years from the date of issuance. By understanding and adhering to the license validity and renewal processes, gun owners can maintain responsible and lawful firearm ownership.

Ammunition Sellers

Ammunition sellers play a critical role in the responsible distribution of ammunition to lawful gun owners. In New York, these sellers must be registered with local police or hold a valid firearm dealer license in the state. Additionally, they are required to conduct checks with the state's electronic database to confirm the transferee's eligibility to possess ammunition before completing the transfer. By adhering to these regulations, ammunition sellers may contribute to public safety by preventing unauthorized access to ammunition.


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Tips to Sell Safely and Get the Best Price

Man cleaning a rifle

To ensure a successful sale, make sure your firearm is in good working condition, clean, and well-maintained. Provide an accurate description of the firearm, including its make, model, caliber, and accessories. Prepare a comprehensive bill of sale and include relevant documentation, such as receipts and warranty information. Finally, complete the sale and transfer ownership in a legally compliant manner by adhering to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Cleaning and Maintenance

It's a good idea to ensure your firearm is in good working condition and properly cleaned before selling it. This can also increase the firearm's value. 

Accurate Description

When preparing your firearm for a private sale, you should aim to provide an accurate description of the firearm. This includes information about the make, model, caliber, and any accessories that come with the firearm. An accurate description will help ensure a smooth transaction with your ultimate buyer. Additionally, with an antique gun, any information on the gun’s history that could add value to the sale should be included. 


Prepare a complete bill of sale that protects both parties in case of disputes, including the following information: sale date, buyer and seller information, and firearm details (such as make, model, and serial number). Additionally, be sure to include any relevant paperwork, such as purchase receipts and warranty information and keep copies of everything for your own records.

Completing the Sale and Transferring Firearm Ownership

Once you've found a legal buyer, complete the sale and transfer ownership of the firearm in a legal and compliant manner. Be sure to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including background checks and any necessary permits or licenses. 

All sales and transfers in New York require the use of a FFL. The FFL should be helpful and know more about the necessary forms and legal documents. 

Using Cash for Arms to Sell Your Guns

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Using Cash for Arms is a safe and secure option for selling your firearm. By choosing a reputable buyer, you can ensure a smooth and legal transaction while getting the best market value for your firearm.

Cash for Arms is a licensed FFL Dealer. We will make sure that all the necessary paperwork required in New York State is properly taken care of and will also cover all transfer and shipping costs. We have a no obligation cash offer and a consignment gun sale option. Your Responsibility is to fill out the forms we send you and use our shipping label to send the gun to us. You get one full payment and do not have to pay anything.

General Questions & Answers

How can I sell a gun to someone else in New York?

To sell a gun to someone else in New York, both parties need a valid NY firearms licenses. The transfer must occur through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) dealer who will conduct the required background check. Post-transfer, the new owner should register the firearm as per NY State law. For handguns, it must be added to the new owner's permit before possession. 

Who can sell a gun in New York?

In New York State only licensed Federal Firearms Dealers (FFLs) are authorized to sell firearms to the general public, New York State requires that all sales, with the exception of sales to spouses, domestic partners, children, and step-children, must be conducted by an NYS Federal Firearms Dealer.

How can I sell a gun in New York?

To sell a gun in New York, you need to ensure that both parties have valid NY firearms licenses. Conduct the transaction through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) dealer who will perform a mandatory background check. After the sale, the new owner must register the firearm following NY State law. For handguns, it must be added to the new owner's permit prior to possession. 

Is it illegal to sell guns in New York?

It is not illegal to sell guns in New York, but both the seller and the buyer must comply with federal, state, and local laws. This includes ensuring the buyer is legally eligible to own a gun and typically requires conducting the sale through a licensed firearm dealer who can perform necessary background checks. Violation of these laws can result in severe penalties.

What is the new gun law in New York?

Governor announced new permitting and minimum age requirements related to ownership of semiautomatic rifles taking effect Sunday, September 4, 2022. After that date, an individual must be at least 21 years old and have a permit prior to purchasing or taking possession of a semiautomatic rifle.

Are guns legal in New York now?

Yes, guns are legal in New York , however there are strict regulations and requirements surrounding their purchase, ownership, and possession. In New York City, only adults at least 21 years of age or older can purchase or own a firearm with a permit or license issued by the NYPD.

What firearms need to be registered in New York?

In New York State, all handguns, including semi-automatic pistols and revolvers, must be registered with law enforcement. This requirement applies to both residents and non-residents who possess handguns. Assault weapons, which have specific characteristics, also need to be registered with the New York State Police.

Can I buy a gun in New York without a license?

No, you cannot buy a gun in New York without a license. To own a handgun in New York City, you need a valid city handgun license. To own a rifle or shotgun, you need a city-issued permit.

Is gun possession illegal in New York?

No, gun possession is not illegal in New York. New York state law does not require a license to own or possess shotguns or manually operated action rifles but does require a permit to legally possess or own a pistol.

Is New York gun friendly?

No, New York is generally not considered a gun-friendly state. New York State has some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States. 



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Cash for Arms pays all costs involved in the transaction, making it a hassle-free and cost-effective option for selling your gun.



As experienced and knowledgeable gun buyers, Cash for Arms provides the best market value for your firearm, ensuring you get the best possible price.



Cash for Arms adheres to all necessary protocols to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, preventing the sale of firearms to prohibited individuals.



Safe and Secure Transaction: Multiple Selling Options: Cash for Arms offers multiple selling options to suit your needs, including selling outright or cash consignment.



By choosing a reputable buyer like Cash for Arms, you can ensure a safe and secure sale of your firearm, protecting yourself from potential legal complications.

In the process of selling or purchasing your firearm keep good records, make sure that you work with a licensed FFL, obtain and submit all legally required documents and background checks, and obtain the applicable firearms ownership license (for buyers).

By following the guidelines and recommendations in this article, you can successfully navigate the process of selling a gun in New York. Remember to always adhere to federal and state regulations, as well as local laws, to ensure a legal, safe, and profitable transaction. 


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