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New York Penal Section 265.20 - Exemptions.

265.20 Exemptions.

a. Paragraph (h) of subdivision twenty-two of section 265.00 and sections 265.01, 265.01-a, subdivision one of section 265.01-b, 265.02, 265.03, 265.04, 265.05, 265.10, 265.11, 265.12, 265.13, 265.15, 265.36, 265.37 and 270.05 shall not apply to:

1. Possession of any of the weapons, instruments, appliances or substances specified in sections 265.01, 265.02, 265.03, 265.04, 265.05 and 270.05 by the following:

(a) Persons in the military service of the state of New York when duly authorized by regulations issued by the adjutant general to possess the same.

(b) Police officers as defined in subdivision thirty-four of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law.

(c) Peace officers as defined by section 2.10 of the criminal procedure law.

(d) Persons in the military or other service of the United States, in pursuit of official duty or when duly authorized by federal law, regulation or order to possess the same.

(e) Persons employed in fulfilling defense contracts with the government of the United States or agencies thereof when possession of the same is necessary for manufacture, transport, installation and testing under the requirements of such contract.

(f) A person voluntarily surrendering such weapon, instrument, appliance or substance, provided that such surrender shall be made to the superintendent of the division of state police or a member thereof designated by such superintendent, or to the sheriff of the county in which such person resides, or in the county of Nassau or in the towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip and Smithtown in the county of Suffolk to the commissioner of police or a member of the police department thereof designated by such commissioner, or if such person resides in a city, town other than one named in this subparagraph, or village to the police commissioner or head of the police force or department thereof or to a member of the force or department designated by such commissioner or head; and provided, further, that the same shall be surrendered by such person in accordance with such terms and conditions as may be established by such superintendent, sheriff, police force or department. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as granting immunity from prosecution for any crime or offense except that of unlawful possession of such weapons, instruments, appliances or substances surrendered as herein provided. A person who possesses any such weapon, instrument, appliance or substance as an executor or administrator or any other lawful possessor of such property of a decedent may continue to possess such property for a period not over fifteen days. If such property is not lawfully disposed of within such period the possessor shall deliver it to an appropriate official described in this paragraph or such property may be delivered to the superintendent of state police. Such officer shall hold it and shall thereafter deliver it on the written request of such executor, administrator or other lawful possessor of such property to a named person, provided such named person is licensed to or is otherwise lawfully permitted to possess the same. If no request to deliver the property is received by such official within one year of the delivery of such property, such official shall dispose of it in accordance with the provisions of section 400.05 of this chapter.

2. Possession of a machine-gun, large capacity ammunition feeding device, firearm, switchblade knife, gravity knife, pilum ballistic knife, billy or blackjack by a warden, superintendent, headkeeper or deputy of a state prison, penitentiary, workhouse, county jail or other institution for the detention of persons convicted or accused of crime or detained as witnesses in criminal cases, in pursuit of official duty or when duly authorized by regulation or order to possess the same.

3. Possession of a pistol or revolver by a person to whom a license therefor has been issued as provided under section 400.00 or 400.01 of this chapter or possession of a weapon as defined in paragraph (e) or (f) of subdivision twenty-two of section 265.00 of this article which is registered pursuant to paragraph (a) of subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter or is included on an amended license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of this chapter. In the event such license is revoked, other than because such licensee is no longer permitted to possess a firearm, rifle or shotgun under federal or state law, information sufficient to satisfy the requirements of subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter, shall be transmitted by the licensing officer to the state police, in a form as determined by the superintendent of state police. Such transmission shall constitute a valid registration under such section. Further provided, notwithstanding any other section of this title, a failure to register such weapon by an individual who possesses such weapon before the enactment of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which amended this paragraph and may so lawfully possess it thereafter upon registration, shall only be subject to punishment pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter; provided, that such a license or registration shall not preclude a conviction for the offense defined in subdivision three of section 265.01 of this article or section 265.01-a of this article.

4. Possession of a rifle, shotgun, crossbow or longbow for use while hunting, trapping or fishing, by a person, not a citizen of the United States, carrying a valid license issued pursuant to section 11-0713 of the environmental conservation law.

5. Possession of a rifle or shotgun by a person other than a person who has been convicted of a class A-I felony or a violent felony offense, as defined in subdivision one of section 70.02 of this chapter, who has been convicted as specified in subdivision four of section 265.01 to whom a certificate of good conduct has been issued pursuant to section seven hundred three-b of the correction law.

6. Possession of a switchblade or gravity knife for use while hunting, trapping or fishing by a person carrying a valid license issued to him pursuant to section 11-0713 of the environmental conservation law.

7. Possession, at an indoor or outdoor shooting range for the purpose of loading and firing, of a rifle or shotgun, the propelling force of which is gunpowder by a person under sixteen years of age but not under twelve, under the immediate supervision, guidance and instruction of (a) a duly commissioned officer of the United States army, navy, air force, marine corps or coast guard, or of the national guard of the state of New York; or (b) a duly qualified adult citizen of the United States who has been granted a certificate as an instructor in small arms practice issued by the United States army, navy, air force or marine corps, or by the adjutant general of this state, or by the national rifle association of America, a not-for-profit corporation duly organized under the laws of this state; or (c) a parent, guardian, or a person over the age of eighteen designated in writing by such parent or guardian who shall have a certificate of qualification in responsible hunting, including safety, ethics, and landowner relations-hunter relations, issued or honored by the department of environmental conservation; or (d) an agent of the department of environmental conservation appointed to conduct courses in responsible hunting practices pursuant to article eleven of the environmental conservation law.

7-a. Possession and use, at an indoor or outdoor pistol range located in or on premises owned or occupied by a duly incorporated organization organized for conservation purposes or to foster proficiency in small arms or at a target pistol shooting competition under the auspices of or approved by the national rifle association for the purpose of loading and firing the same, by a person duly licensed to possess a pistol or revolver pursuant to section 400.00 or 400.01 of this chapter of a pistol or revolver duly so licensed to another person who is present at the time.

7-b. Possession and use, at an indoor or outdoor pistol range located in or on premises owned or occupied by a duly incorporated organization organized for conservation purposes or to foster proficiency in small arms or at a target pistol shooting competition under the auspices of or approved by the national rifle association for the purpose of loading and firing the same, by a person who has applied for a license to possess a pistol or revolver and pre-license possession of same pursuant to section 400.00 or 400.01 of this chapter, who has not been previously denied a license, been previously convicted of a felony or serious offense, and who does not appear to be, or pose a threat to be, a danger to himself or to others, and who has been approved for possession and use herein in accordance with section 400.00 or 400.01 of this chapter; provided however, that such possession shall be of a pistol or revolver duly licensed to and shall be used under the supervision, guidance and instruction of, a person specified in paragraph seven of this subdivision and provided further that such possession and use be within the jurisdiction of the licensing officer with whom the person has made application therefor or within the jurisdiction of the superintendent of state police in the case of a retired sworn member of the division of state police who has opted to make an application pursuant to section 400.01 of this chapter.

7-c. Possession for the purpose of loading and firing, of a rifle, pistol or shotgun, the propelling force of which may be either air, compressed gas or springs, by a person under sixteen years of age but not under twelve, under the immediate supervision, guidance and instruction of (a) a duly commissioned officer of the United States army, navy, marine corps or coast guard, or of the national guard of the state of New York; or (b) a duly qualified adult citizen of the United States who has been granted a certificate as an instructor in small arms practice issued by the United States army, navy or marine corps, or by the adjutant general of this state, or by the national rifle association of America, a not-for-profit corporation duly organized under the laws of this state; or (c) a parent, guardian, or a person over the age of eighteen designated in writing by such parent or guardian who shall have a certificate of qualification in responsible hunting, including safety, ethics, and landowner relations-hunter relations, issued or honored by the department of environmental conservation.

7-d. Possession, at an indoor or outdoor shooting range for the purpose of loading and firing, of a rifle, pistol or shotgun, the propelling force of which may be either air, compressed gas or springs, by a person under twelve years of age, under the immediate supervision, guidance and instruction of (a) a duly commissioned officer of the United States army, navy, marine corps or coast guard, or of the national guard of the state of New York; or (b) a duly qualified adult citizen of the United States who has been granted a certificate as an instructor in small arms practice issued by the United States army, navy or marine corps, or by the adjutant general of this state, or by the national rifle association of America, a not-for-profit corporation duly organized under the laws of this state; or (c) a parent, guardian, or a person over the age of eighteen designated in writing by such parent or guardian who shall have a certificate of qualification in responsible hunting, including safety, ethics, and landowner relations-hunter relations, issued or honored by the department of environmental conservation.

7-e. Possession and use of a pistol or revolver, at an indoor or outdoor pistol range located in or on premises owned or occupied by a duly incorporated organization organized for conservation purposes or to foster proficiency in small arms or at a target pistol shooting competition under the auspices of or approved by an association or organization described in paragraph 7-a of this subdivision for the purpose of loading and firing the same by a person at least fourteen years of age but under the age of twenty-one who has not been previously convicted of a felony or serious offense, and who does not appear to be, or pose a threat to be, a danger to himself or to others; provided however, that such possession shall be of a pistol or revolver duly licensed to and shall be used under the immediate supervision, guidance and instruction of, a person specified in paragraph seven of this subdivision.

7-f. Possession and use of a magazine, belt, feed strip or similar device, that contains more than seven rounds of ammunition, but that does not have a capacity of or can readily be restored or converted to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition, at an indoor or outdoor firing range located in or on premises owned or occupied by a duly incorporated organization organized for conservation purposes or to foster proficiency in arms; at an indoor or outdoor firing range for the purpose of firing a rifle or shotgun; at a collegiate, olympic or target shooting competition under the auspices of or approved by the national rifle association; or at an organized match sanctioned by the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association.

8. The manufacturer of machine-guns, firearm silencers, assault weapons, large capacity ammunition feeding devices, disguised guns, pilum ballistic knives, switchblade or gravity knives, billies or blackjacks as merchandise, or as a transferee recipient of the same for repair, lawful distribution or research and development, and the disposal and shipment thereof direct to a regularly constituted or appointed state or municipal police department, sheriff, policeman or other peace officer, or to a state prison, penitentiary, workhouse, county jail or other institution for the detention of persons convicted or accused of crime or held as witnesses in criminal cases, or to the military service of this state or of the United States; or for the repair and return of the same to the lawful possessor or for research and development.

9. The regular and ordinary transport of firearms as merchandise, provided that the person transporting such firearms, where he knows or has reasonable means of ascertaining what he is transporting, notifies in writing the police commissioner, police chief or other law enforcement officer performing such functions at the place of delivery, of the name and address of the consignee and the place of delivery, and withholds delivery to the consignee for such reasonable period of time designated in writing by such police commissioner, police chief or other law enforcement officer as such official may deem necessary for investigation as to whether the consignee may lawfully receive and possess such firearms.

9-a. a. Except as provided in subdivision b hereof, the regular and ordinary transport of pistols or revolvers by a manufacturer of firearms to whom a license as a dealer in firearms has been issued pursuant to section 400.00 of this chapter, or by an agent or employee of such manufacturer of firearms who is otherwise duly licensed to carry a pistol or revolver and who is duly authorized in writing by such manufacturer of firearms to transport pistols or revolvers on the date or dates specified, directly between places where the manufacturer of firearms regularly conducts business provided such pistols or revolvers are transported unloaded, in a locked opaque container. For purposes of this subdivision, places where the manufacturer of firearms regularly conducts business includes, but is not limited to places where the manufacturer of firearms regularly or customarily conducts development or design of pistols or revolvers, or regularly or customarily conducts tests on pistols or revolvers, or regularly or customarily participates in the exposition of firearms to the public.

b. The transportation of such pistols or revolvers into, out of or within the city of New York may be done only with the consent of the police commissioner of the city of New York. To obtain such consent, the manufacturer must notify the police commissioner in writing of the name and address of the transporting manufacturer, or agent or employee of the manufacturer who is authorized in writing by such manufacturer to transport pistols or revolvers, the number, make and model number of the firearms to be transported and the place where the manufacturer regularly conducts business within the city of New York and such other information as the commissioner may deem necessary. The manufacturer must not transport such pistols and revolvers between the designated places of business for such reasonable period of time designated in writing by the police commissioner as such official may deem necessary for investigation and to give consent. The police commissioner may not unreasonably withhold his consent.

10. Engaging in the business of gunsmith or dealer in firearms by a person to whom a valid license therefor has been issued pursuant to section 400.00.

11. Possession of a firearm or large capacity ammunition feeding device by a police officer or sworn peace officer of another state while conducting official business within the state of New York.

12. Possession of a pistol or revolver by a person who is a member or coach of an accredited college or university target pistol team while transporting the pistol or revolver into or through New York state to participate in a collegiate, olympic or target pistol shooting competition under the auspices of or approved by the national rifle association, provided such pistol or revolver is unloaded and carried in a locked carrying case and the ammunition therefor is carried in a separate locked container.

12-a. Possession and use of a pistol or revolver, at an indoor or outdoor shooting range, by a registered student of a higher education institution chartered by the state of New York, who is participating in a course in gun safety and proficiency offered by such institution, under the immediate supervision, guidance, and instruction of a person specified in paragraph seven of this subdivision.

13. Possession of pistols and revolvers by a person who is a nonresident of this state while attending or traveling to or from, an organized competitive pistol match or league competition under auspices of, or approved by, the National Rifle Association and in which he is a competitor, within forty-eight hours of such event or by a person who is a non-resident of the state while attending or traveling to or from an organized match sanctioned by the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association and in which he is a competitor, within forty-eight hours of such event, provided that he has not been previously convicted of a felony or a crime which, if committed in New York, would constitute a felony, and further provided that the pistols or revolvers are transported unloaded in a locked opaque container together with a copy of the match program, match schedule or match registration card. Such documentation shall constitute prima facie evidence of exemption, providing that such person also has in his possession a pistol license or firearms registration card issued in accordance with the laws of his place of residence. For purposes of this subdivision, a person licensed in a jurisdiction which does not authorize such license by a person who has been previously convicted of a felony shall be presumed to have no prior conviction. The superintendent of state police shall annually review the laws of jurisdictions within the United States and Canada with respect to the applicable requirements for licensing or registration of firearms and shall publish a list of those jurisdictions which prohibit possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony or crimes which if committed in New York state would constitute a felony.

13-a. Except in cities not wholly contained within a single county of the state, possession of pistols and revolvers by a person who is a nonresident of this state while attending or traveling to or from, an organized convention or exhibition for the display of or education about firearms, which is conducted under auspices of, or approved by, the National Rifle Association and in which he is a registered participant, within forty-eight hours of such event, provided that he has not been previously convicted of a felony or a crime which, if committed in New York, would constitute a felony, and further provided that the pistols or revolvers are transported unloaded in a locked opaque container together with a copy of the convention or exhibition program, convention or exhibition schedule or convention or exhibition registration card. Such documentation shall constitute prima facie evidence of exemption, providing that such person also has in his possession a pistol license or firearms registration card issued in accordance with the laws of his place of residence. For purposes of this paragraph, a person licensed in a jurisdiction which does not authorize such license by a person who has been previously convicted of a felony shall be presumed to have no prior conviction. The superintendent of state police shall annually review the laws of jurisdictions within the United States and Canada with respect to the applicable requirements for licensing or registration of firearms and shall publish a list of those jurisdictions which prohibit possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a felony or crimes which if committed in New York state would constitute a felony.

14. Possession in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph of a self-defense spray device as defined herein for the protection of a person or property and use of such self-defense spray device under circumstances which would justify the use of physical force pursuant to article thirty-five of this chapter.

(a) As used in this section "self-defense spray device" shall mean a pocket sized spray device which contains and releases a chemical or organic substance which is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air or any like device containing tear gas, pepper or similar disabling agent.

(b) The exemption under this paragraph shall not apply to a person who:

(i) is less than eighteen years of age; or

(ii) has been previously convicted in this state of a felony or any assault; or

(iii) has been convicted of a crime outside the state of New York which if committed in New York would constitute a felony or any assault crime.

(c) The department of health, with the cooperation of the division of criminal justice services and the superintendent of state police, shall develop standards and promulgate regulations regarding the type of self-defense spray device which may lawfully be purchased, possessed and used pursuant to this paragraph. The regulations shall include a requirement that every self-defense spray device which may be lawfully purchased, possessed or used pursuant to this paragraph have a label which states: "WARNING: The use of this substance or device for any purpose other than self-defense is a criminal offense under the law. The contents are dangerous - use with care. This device shall not be sold by anyone other than a licensed or authorized dealer. Possession of this device by any person under the age of eighteen or by anyone who has been convicted of a felony or assault is illegal. Violators may be prosecuted under the law."

15. Possession and sale of a self-defense spray device as defined in paragraph fourteen of this subdivision by a dealer in firearms licensed pursuant to section 400.00 of this chapter, a pharmacist licensed pursuant to article one hundred thirty-seven of the education law or by such other vendor as may be authorized and approved by the superintendent of state police.

(a) Every self-defense spray device shall be accompanied by an insert or inserts which include directions for use, first aid information, safety and storage information and which shall also contain a toll free telephone number for the purpose of allowing any purchaser to call and receive additional information regarding the availability of local courses in self-defense training and safety in the use of a self-defense spray device.

(b) Before delivering a self-defense spray device to any person, the licensed or authorized dealer shall require proof of age and a sworn statement on a form approved by the superintendent of state police that such person has not been convicted of a felony or any crime involving an assault. Such forms shall be forwarded to the division of state police at such intervals as directed by the superintendent of state police. Absent any such direction the forms shall be maintained on the premises of the vendor and shall be open at all reasonable hours for inspection by any peace officer or police officer, acting pursuant to his or her special duties. No more than two self-defense spray devices may be sold at any one time to a single purchaser.

16. The terms "rifle," "shotgun," "pistol," "revolver," and "firearm" as used in paragraphs three, four, five, seven, seven-a, seven-b, nine, nine-a, ten, twelve, thirteen and thirteen-a of this subdivision shall not include a disguised gun or an assault weapon.

b. Section 265.01 shall not apply to possession of that type of billy commonly known as a "police baton" which is twenty-four to twenty-six inches in length and no more than one and one-quarter inches in thickness by members of an auxiliary police force of a city with a population in excess of one million persons or the county of Suffolk when duly authorized by regulation or order issued by the police commissioner of such city or such county respectively. Such regulations shall require training in the use of the police baton including but not limited to the defensive use of the baton and instruction in the legal use of deadly physical force pursuant to article thirty-five of this chapter. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other provision of law, possession of such baton shall not be authorized when used intentionally to strike another person except in those situations when the use of deadly physical force is authorized by such article thirty-five.

c. Sections 265.01, 265.10 and 265.15 shall not apply to possession of billies or blackjacks by persons:

1. while employed in fulfilling contracts with New York state, its agencies or political subdivisions for the purchase of billies or blackjacks; or

2. while employed in fulfilling contracts with sister states, their agencies or political subdivisions for the purchase of billies or blackjacks; or

3. while employed in fulfilling contracts with foreign countries, their agencies or political subdivisions for the purchase of billies or blackjacks as permitted under federal law.

d. Subdivision one of section 265.01 and subdivision four of section 265.15 of this article shall not apply to possession or ownership of automatic knives by any cutlery and knife museum established pursuant to section two hundred sixteen-c of the education law or by any director, officer, employee, or agent thereof when he or she is in possession of an automatic knife and acting in furtherance of the business of such museum.

e. Subdivision eight of section 265.02 and sections 265.36 and 265.37 of this chapter shall not apply to a qualified retired New York or federal law enforcement officer as defined in subdivision twenty-five of section 265.00 of this article, with respect to large capacity ammunition feeding devices issued to such officer or purchased by such officer in the course of his or her official duties and owned by such officer at the time of his or her retirement or comparable replacements for such devices, if: (i) the agency that employed the officer qualified such officer in the use of the weapon which accepts such device in accordance with applicable state or federal standards for active duty law enforcement officers within twelve months prior to his or her retirement; and (ii) such retired officer meets, at his or her own expense, such applicable standards for such weapon at least once within three years after his or her retirement date and at least once every three years thereafter, provided, however, that any such qualified officer who has been retired for eighteen months or more on the effective date of this subdivision shall have eighteen months from such effective date to qualify in the use of the weapon which accepts such large capacity ammunition feeding device according to the provisions of this subdivision, notwithstanding that such officer did not qualify within three years after his or her retirement date, provided that such officer is otherwise qualified and maintains compliance with the provisions of this subdivision.


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Last modified: September 11, 2016