Can You Shoot on Your Property in New York?

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New York State has some of the most complicated and strictest gun laws in the entire country. Adding to this complexity is the fact that New York City tends to have different gun laws than New York State.

Therefore, before shooting on your property, gun owners should know and understand the unique rules of the New York State and New York City so that they are aware of their obligations and legal rights.

Can You Shoot on Your Property in New York?

Yes, you can shoot on your property in New York because target shooting is allowed if you are at least 500 feet from a building, residence, or occupied area. Besides, you must have the permission of the property owner to shoot within the residential area.

Furthermore, you can shoot in any place or manner where any property or person is not exposed to damage or injury because of such gun discharge. However, you should keep in mind that target or leisure shooting in residential areas is not allowed within New York City.

rifle with a scope inside a case

Gun Purchase and Ownership

Under federal law, an individual must be over 18 years to buy a shotgun or a rifle and 21 years old to buy a handgun. In addition, the person must also be of good character as stated by the New York State Penal Law. The gun buyer must also be a resident of the state and should not have any prior criminal or serious offense convictions.

In New York City, you need a permit to purchase:

  • shotguns
  • handguns
  • rifles

Furthermore, gun owners must have a license and have a permit to carry guns. This is unlike the New York state, where only handguns need a permit to purchase and carry.

Most parts of the New York state do not require permits for shotguns and rifles used for hunting. However, New York City requires a permit for all hunting guns. Depending on where your home is located in the state, you must ensure that you adhere to these laws to avoid getting into trouble with law enforcement.

A disassembled handgun

Types of Firearms You Can Use on Your Property

The SAFE Act endorsed a stricter definition for assault weapons and a ban on these weapons. Any individual who owned assault weapons before the passing of the SAFE Act was required to register the weapon by April 2014, sell it to out-of-state dealers, or modify the characteristics of the weapon to change it to a non-assault weapon.

Property owners shooting in their homes can possess and use firearms that are not considered assault weapons.

Four shotguns leaning on a wood

In New York State:

  • a handgun is considered to be an assault weapon if it is semiautomatic and has military features such as telescoping stock, a barrel that accepts a silencer, or a second handgrip.
  • a rifle is also considered to be an assault weapon if it is semiautomatic and can receive detachable magazines or has military characteristics like a bayonet mount or protruding pistol grip.
  • a shotgun can also be an assault weapon if it is semiautomatic and has military features such as a fixed magazine capacity of over 7 rounds or telescoping stock.

Most shotguns, handguns, and rifles used for hunting are not assault weapons and can be owned and used by New York residents.


New York State has some of the most stringent gun regulations in the country. This is because of the passage of the SAFE Act in 2013 after the shooting incident that occurred at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Aside from visiting shooting ranges in New York, you may enjoy target or leisure shooting in your backyard and ensure that you get proper licenses depending on your gun.

While remembering how to use your firearms safely in your property, you must also have a big backyard to ensure that your shooting activity is at least 500 feet away from any occupied building and be on the lookout for any property or people to avoid damage or injury.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.