New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act for 2013

On January 15, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (“SAFE Act”) that bans assault weapons, restricts magazines and makes several other amendments to New York State law in relation to guns.
Several of these amendments will affect current and future gun owners and will be phased-in over a period of several months.
An outline of some of the major changes and their effective dates is set forth below:

  • This new law redefines the term, “assault weapon” and bans the sale of those weapons falling under the new definition.
  • The term “assault weapon” includes
    • any semiautomatic rifle or pistol with a detachable magazine and one of the military-style features listed in the law, or
    • any semiautomatic shotgun with one of the military style features listed in the law
Further information detailing the specific types of weapons which are now considered to be “assault weapons” in New York State can be found on the NY State Police web site at


  • This new definition of assault weapon is currently effective. At this time, no one may purchase or sell a weapon that qualifies as an assault weapon, outside of very strict limitations.
  • A person who lawfully possessed one of these weapons before this law was passed may continue to possess it as long as the person registers the weapon with the New York State Police between April 15, 2013 and April 15, 2014. (1 Year from the effective date of section 16-a, 4/15/13)
  • The prohibition on transferring the weapon is currently in effect. A person who lawfully possess one of these weapons may not sell or transfer the weapon within New York State to anyone who is not a licensed gun dealer.
  • The weapon may be sold to an entity outside the State provided that the reporting requirements in the statute are complied with.
  • There is no exception that would allow an assault weapon to be transferred to another family member within the State
  • The new law also limits the use of a magazine, referred to in the law as a high capacity feeding device. Under this law any magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds is illegal to possess, regardless of the year in which it was made. (The old law allowed the possession of larger magazines that were made before 1994).
EFFECTIVE DATE: This actual provision of the law is now in effect, however that provision allows for persons possessing a 10+ round ammunition feeding device have one year to sell it to either an out-of-state buyer, or a licensed dealer. So, persons must either disable or properly sell a 10+ round magazine before January 15, 2014.
  • In addition, magazines that have the capacity to contain more than 7 rounds may no longer be sold to or purchased by someone who isn’t a gun dealer in New York State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 90 Days—April 15, 2013
  • A person who currently owns a magazine that has the capacity to contain up to 10 rounds of ammunition may continue to possess the magazine provided that no more than 7 rounds may actually be loaded in it at any one time.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 90 Days—April 15, 2013

  • The new law requires that all firearms licenses be renewed every five years. Permit holders will receive a notification explaining further details on how to renew or recertify a pistol permit before their renewal deadline.
EFFECTIVE DATE: The provision requiring pistol permit recertification (PL 400.00(10)(b)), goes into effect January 15, 2014. This means that the first round of recertification forms will likely be sent out to license holders sometime prior to January 15, 2019.

  • The new law requires that ammunition sellers, who are not licensed firearm dealers, must register with the State Police
  • Ammunition sellers may begin registering on April 15, 2013.
  • The law also prohibits the sale of ammunition over the internet and requires in person sales.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This part of the law becomes effective on January 15, 2014.

  • The new law regulates private sales of firearms, rifles and shotguns. A sale, exchange or disposal of such weapon may occur only after a background check has been conducted on the potential purchaser by a licensed gun dealer.
  • A dealer may charge 10 dollars for the background check.
  • The requirement of a background check applies to any private sale except a sale to an immediate family member (Spouse, domestic partner, children and step-children only)
EFFECTIVE DATE: This part becomes effective March 15, 2013