Getting Arrested When You Are a New York Pistol License Holder

June 27, 2018

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

One of the consequences of being arrested in New York is that even if your arrest doesn’t result in a criminal conviction, you may lose your New York issued pistol license. Many criminal defense attorneys don’t know how to handle such proceedings and may not even advise their clients about such a possibility.

In this day and age where gun violence is a hot-button issue, even a case which is dismissed can result in you losing your guns and your right to possess or carry. At Pappalardo & Pappalardo, LLP, not only do we know how to fight criminal charges, but we also know how to handle pistol revocation proceedings.


What Are the Types of Pistol Licenses and Who is Eligible?

In New York, a person can have a license for a pistol or revolver for the following:

  • To possess in his/her dwelling or place of business
  • To carry concealed during his/her employment
  • To carry concealed by certain judges and corrections employees
  • To carry concealed “without regard to employment or place of possession, by any person when proper cause exists for the issuance thereof”
  • To possess antique pistols

To be eligible for a pistol license in New York, an applicant must meet certain requirements:

  • Must be 21 years of age or older, with certain exceptions for honorably discharged veterans
  • Must be of good moral character
  • Cannot have any felony convictions or convictions for serious offenses, and cannot be a fugitive from justice or have outstanding warrants
  • Cannot use illegal substances
  • Must be present with legal status in the United States, and cannot have renounced his/her citizenship
  • Has not been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Cannot suffer from, nor has ever suffered from, any mental illness, and cannot have ever been involuntarily committed nor have had a guardian appointed for him/her
  • Has not had a license revoked or suspended by a court
  • Has passed a firearms safety course and test (Westchester only)
  • There is no good cause for the denial of the license


How Can My Pistol License Be Revoked?

In New York, local law enforcement are responsible for determining whether persons can be certified or re-certified for a pistol license. For example, in Westchester County, the Department of Public Safety (the county police force) has a Pistol Licensing Unit which investigates applicants for concealed carry pistol licenses and addresses license holders who have failed to certify or re-certify their licenses. The detectives in the licensing unit routinely check whether pistol license holders in the county have been arrested, and upon such information they will refer the matter to the Westchester County Attorney’s Office for proceedings to revoke the pistol license of that person.

These pistol revocation proceedings, pursuant to Penal Law § 400.00(11), are civil proceedings instituted in the Supreme Court of the county where the pistol license is held. Such proceedings can lead to a hearing on the issue of whether the pistol license holder continues to be “of good moral character” or whether “good cause exists for the denial of the license”

Notably, pistol licenses can also be suspended and/or revoked pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law 530.14 and Family Court Act 842-a. When an Order of Protection is issued in a criminal or family court case, the named defendant must immediately surrender his/her guns and license. Thereafter, there may be proceedings to determine whether he/she can have the guns and license returned.


Additional Useful Information About Pistol Licensing in New York

New York does not honor pistol permits or licenses issued by any other state, even if one is simply traveling through the state. It’s also important to note that if you have a pistol license issued outside of New York City, your license is only valid in the counties outside of the five boroughs of New York City. There are many other places one may not be able to carry a gun, such as courthouses, school grounds, and parks. Persons without the proper license may be subject to criminal prosecution under Section 265 of the Penal Law for illegally possessing a weapon or firearm.

Note that there are exceptions for active law enforcement officers, peace officers, and retired law enforcement officers pursuant to the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (“LEOSA”). However, LEOSA does not protect against restrictions against carrying high-capacity magazines or carrying a pistol in certain government buildings.



  • Criminal Procedure Law § 530.14
  • Family Court Act § 842-a
  • Penal Law § 265.00
  • Penal Law § 400.00