Pistol Permits in Upstate New York

(Outside New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties)


Getting a Pistol Permit

Pistol permits in New York State are governed by article 400 of the Penal Law. There are primarily two types of permits issued. One is a premises permit which allows possession of a handgun at one's residence or place of business only. The second type is a permit to have and carry concealed, which allows one to have a handgun concealed on his person. Application forms are available from the county clerk.

The “licensing officer" for upstate counties is a county court judge, who issues or denies a permit based upon an investigation conducted by the appropriate police agency. Carry Permits may be granted to those who meet the following criteria:

  1.  all statements in the application are true;
  2.  the applicant is at least 21 years old, unless honorably discharged from the military;
  3.  the applicant is of good moral character;
  4.  who has not been convicted of a felony or "serious offense";
  5.  who has stated whether he or she has suffered from or been treated for mental illness;
  6.  who has not had a license revoked;
  7.  concerning whom no good cause exists for the denial of the license; and
  8.  who has proper cause for the issuance of a license.

The requirement of proper cause for the issuance of a permit does not apply to a premises permit. There are court decisions holding that the county court judge may place restrictions on a carry permit. However, these decisions are currently being challenged based upon the recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court that the second amendment guarantees an individual right and that it applies to the states as well as the federal government.

Permits issued in upstate New York are not valid in New York City unless approved by the police commissioner. There are numerous other restrictions on where a handgun can be carried, including courthouses, schools and most public buildings.

While many states have reciprocity with other states for pistol permits, New York State does not recognize pistol permits issued by any other state. New York also does not issue permits to non-residents.

For the current list of states which recognize New York's permit visit: www.nraila.org

Keeping a Pistol Permit

Being licensed to carry a concealed weapon carries with it social and moral responsibility. To avoid revocation of your pistol permit, abide by the following rules, which are of equal importance.

A. Be safe. Follow the four cardinal rules of gun safety:

  • All guns are always loaded. Always.
  • Never allow the muzzle of the gun to cross anything you do not intend to destroy.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until the sites are on the target.
  • Be sure of your target and your backstop, then check again.

B. Be discreet. Your weapon should be concealed at all times. Never display your weapon unless you are justified in drawing it; never draw your weapon unless you are justified in shooting it; never shoot your weapon unless you are justified in taking a life. Accordingly, unless you are legally justified in taking a life, no one should see your weapon.

C. Be polite. Avoid confrontation at all cost - turn the other cheek, just walk away. While the First Amendment guarantee of free speech gives you the right to act like a jerk, the Second Amendment takes away that right. Even if you are faced with a physical threat, if you can safely retreat, do so immediately.

D. Be law-abiding. One who carries a concealed weapon should be a model citizen.Your pistol permit certifies you as one of the “good guys”. Do nothing to jeopardize that status. Obey all laws at all times.

E. Be educated. Take at least a basic handgun safety course, preferably more. Rochester Personal Defense, LLC offers many courses in safety, tactics and the legality of the use of deadly force.

F. Be proficient. Practice with your handgun on a regular basis. Become so familiar with its operation that it becomes second nature to you.