View Full Version : Can you get a Class III license in New York?

May 8, 2000, 05:33 PM
I have been told that it is illegal to possess an automatic weapon in the State of New York, and that Class III licenses don't apply. Is this true?

Bam Bam
May 9, 2000, 09:42 AM
Unfortunately it is true. Just one more thing about NY that makes it less than the greatest place to live. Please be sure to check out this web site. A good organization and lots of good links.
www.scopeny.org (http://www.scopeny.org)

May 10, 2000, 10:25 PM
For most practical purposes, the answer is MGs are verboten in NY. You _can_ do it legally, but it's extremely painful. Ask yourself "why do I want to own this, other than the mere joy of owning a bullet hose?"

Individuals are not allowed to own automatics in NY state. Corporations can; if you own a company or incoroporate yourself (not sure how to do that legally) you could get it...but beware, the legal range is extremely tight and you could get nailed hard if someone decides you're over the line. If someone hears full-auto fire and reports you, even if you're legal ("really! I was testing it's capabilities as an employee of Donath Inc.!") you could have a LOT of explaining to do. Getting the appropriate approval for a corporation could also be very difficult; the Class III dealer in Schenectady I worked with said it took him a year of paperwork plus some very long and intense interviews and local police connections to get his C3 dealer's license.

That said, some Class III items are wholly legal.

June 10, 2000, 11:45 AM
How about suppresors?

June 10, 2000, 08:26 PM
Ditto on supressors. Need to be a business serving police or military needs; other businesses may be allowed but it's hard. It's possible to own a supressor, but so hideously painful there's no point.

I'd sure like one...cut down the noise pollution, save my ears and not annoy the neighbors.

Since supressors and MGs are essentially illegal in NY, I went for what NY considers a 12-guage pistol: pistol-grip-only Mossberg 590 with 14" barrel. County clerk rep made a double-take when recording the caliber. It's about the only Class III item permitted.

June 10, 2000, 09:15 PM
I've heard rumors of several individuals who indeed have Class III in NY. Some from the 1968 amnesty, another who was an LEO and had a friend who was the sheriff sign off on his request. From what I've heard, New York has been trying to get this info from BATF without success.

Again, this is only a rumor I heard from a friend who has been a very reliable source for information.

June 11, 2000, 08:21 PM
Yes, there are a few individuals with MGs in NY. A lucky few were grandfathered in - you're not one of them. There are rumored to be a FEW people who have federally legal MGs, but are, um, er, uh, questionably owned under NY law: it is possible (if you have the right powerful connections, like an extra-friendly sheriff) to get all the BATF paperwork signed and approved and take posession of the MG legally according to federal law. Posession of the MG, however, remains illegal under state law. The legality catch is that, under federal privacy laws, the BATF cannot disclose this posession information to the state, so state agents can't locate the owner by rooting around in federal databases. Do not consider this a way to "legally" own a machinegun in NY state: while one may not face 10 years in federal prison, if caught one would be guilty of a Class D Felony (PL. 265.02(2)).

June 19, 2000, 04:32 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ctdonath:
Since supressors and MGs are essentially illegal in NY, I went for what NY considers a 12-guage pistol: pistol-grip-only Mossberg 590 with 14" barrel. County clerk rep made a double-take when recording the caliber. It's about the only Class III item permitted.[/quote]

Does this qualify as an Class II AOW short barreled-shotgun or does the pistol-grip make it fully into a handgun?

June 19, 2000, 09:30 PM
Take a deep breath and get ready to be confused.

NY does not recognize "Class II/III" items per se.
NY defines a "firearm" as a pistol, revolver, or short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun. The idea is that concealable weapons are registered.
NY defines a "shotgun" as having a stock for shoulder-mounted firing. I.e.: if it doesn't have a stock, it's not a shotgun.
NY bans any short-barreled (&lt;18") shotguns.
NY bans any shotgun that has been remanufactured (modified) to remove the stock or shorten the barrel below 18".
Thus, if you replace the stock on a shotgun with a pistol grip (only), that's illegal.
If the gun (commonly but not legally known as a shotgun) is originally manufactured without a stock, and has a barrel over 18", it is undefined and thus not regulated. (Strange but true.)
Confused yet?

It gets a bit fuzzy from here.
If the gun was manufactured with only a pistol grip AND less-than 18" barrel, well...I figured that since "pistol" was not well defined, and that Thompson Contenders are registered as pistols, and that the gun in question is a sort of a shotgun-like version of a Contender, and that the legal definition of "firearm" is intended to refer to "short" (concealable) weapons, it's probably be best to formally register the gun as a pistol, which I did so without serious incident (though the clerk did a double-take when I declared the caliber to be "12 guage"). To dot the i's, make sure that your Class III dealer is registered as a "firearm" dealer (a Class III dealer, oddly, can handle Class III "firearms" (aka handugns) _without_ being registered as a "firearms" dealer...and remember what NY defines "firearms" as).

So, to answer your question: it is decidedly NOT a shotgun according to NY state, and is most likely considered a handgun (but the law is a tiny bit fuzzy on that point).

Any more questions? The laws are pretty goofy, and I had to pour over them for a while to figure this out.

[This message has been edited by ctdonath (edited June 19, 2000).]