New York Penal Law § 265.00 Definitions




As used in this article and in article four hundred, the following terms shall mean and include:

1. “Machine-gun” means a weapon of any description, irrespective of size, by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded, from which a number of shots or bullets may be rapidly or automatically discharged from a magazine with one continuous pull of the trigger and includes a sub-machine gun.

2. “Firearm silencer” means any instrument, attachment, weapon or appliance for causing the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearms to be silent, or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearms.

3. “Firearm” means (a) any pistol or revolver;  or (b) a shotgun having one or more barrels less than eighteen inches in length;  or (c) a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length;  or (d) any weapon made from a shotgun or rifle whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise if such weapon as altered, modified, or otherwise has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches;  or (e) an assault weapon.  For the purpose of this subdivision the length of the barrel on a shotgun or rifle shall be determined by measuring the distance between the muzzle and the face of the bolt, breech, or breechlock when closed and when the shotgun or rifle is cocked;  the overall length of a weapon made from a shotgun or rifle is the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.  Firearm does not include an antique firearm.

4. “Switchblade knife” means any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.

5. “Gravity knife” means any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device.

5-a. “Pilum ballistic knife” means any knife which has a blade which can be projected from the handle by hand pressure applied to a button, lever, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.

5-b. “Metal knuckle knife” means a weapon that, when closed, cannot function as a set of plastic knuckles or metal knuckles, nor as a knife and when open, can function as both a set of plastic knuckles or metal knuckles as well as a knife.

5-c. “Automatic knife” includes a stiletto, a switchblade knife, a gravity knife, a cane sword, a pilum ballistic knife, and a metal knuckle knife.

6. “Dispose of” means to dispose of, give, give away, lease, loan, keep for sale, offer, offer for sale, sell, transfer and otherwise dispose of.

7. “Deface” means to remove, deface, cover, alter or destroy the manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing number or identification mark.

8. “Gunsmith” means any person, firm, partnership, corporation or company who engages in the business of repairing, altering, assembling, manufacturing, cleaning, polishing, engraving or trueing, or who performs any mechanical operation on, any firearm, large capacity ammunition feeding device or machine-gun.

9. “Dealer in firearms” means any person, firm, partnership, corporation or company who engages in the business of purchasing, selling, keeping for sale, loaning, leasing, or in any manner disposing of, any assault weapon, large capacity ammunition feeding device, pistol or revolver.

10. “Licensing officer” means in the city of New York the police commissioner of that city;  in the county of Nassau the commissioner of police of that county;  in the county of Suffolk the sheriff of that county except in the towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip and Smithtown, the commissioner of police of that county;  for the purposes of section 400.01 of this chapter the superintendent of state police;  and elsewhere in the state a judge or justice of a court of record having his office in the county of issuance.

11. “Rifle” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.

12. “Shotgun” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.

13. “Cane Sword” means a cane or swagger stick having concealed within it a blade that may be used as a sword or stilletto.

14. [See also subd. 14 below]  “Chuka stick” means any device designed primarily as a weapon, consisting of two or more lengths of a rigid material joined together by a thong, rope or chain in such a manner as to allow free movement of a portion of the device while held in the hand and capable of being rotated in such a manner as to inflict serious injury upon a person by striking or choking.  These devices are also known as nunchakus and centrifugal force sticks.

14. [See also subd. 14 above]  “Antique firearm” means:

Any unloaded muzzle loading pistol or revolver with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system, or a pistol or revolver which uses fixed cartridges which are no longer available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

15. “Loaded firearm” means any firearm loaded with ammunition or any firearm which is possessed by one who, at the same time, possesses a quantity of ammunition which may be used to discharge such firearm.

15-a. “Electronic dart gun” means any device designed primarily as a weapon, the purpose of which is to momentarily stun, knock out or paralyze a person by passing an electrical shock to such person by means of a dart or projectile.

15-b. “Kung Fu star” means a disc-like object with sharpened points on the circumference thereof and is designed for use primarily as a weapon to be thrown.

15-c. “Electronic stun gun” means any device designed primarily as a weapon, the purpose of which is to stun, cause mental disorientation, knock out or paralyze a person by passing a high voltage electrical shock to such person.

16. “Certified not suitable to possess a self-defense spray device, a rifle or shotgun” means that the director or physician in charge of any hospital or institution for mental illness, public or private, has certified to the superintendent of state police or to any organized police department of a county, city, town or village of this state, that a person who has been judicially adjudicated incompetent, or who has been confined to such institution for mental illness pursuant to judicial authority, is not suitable to possess a self-defense spray device, as defined in section 265.20 of this article, or a rifle or shotgun.

17. “Serious offense” means (a) any of the following offenses defined in the former penal law as in force and effect immediately prior to September first, nineteen hundred sixty-seven:  illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon;  making or possessing burglar's instruments;  buying or receiving stolen property;  unlawful entry of a building;  aiding escape from prison;  that kind of disorderly conduct defined in subdivisions six and eight of section seven hundred twenty-two of such former penal law;  violations of sections four hundred eighty-three, four hundred eighty-three-b, four hundred eighty-four-h and article one hundred six of such former penal law;  that kind of criminal sexual act or rape which was designated as a misdemeanor;  violation of section seventeen hundred forty-seven-d and seventeen hundred forty-seven-e of such former penal law;  any violation of any provision of article thirty-three of the public health law relating to narcotic drugs which was defined as a misdemeanor by section seventeen hundred fifty-one-a of such former penal law, and any violation of any provision of article thirty-three-A of the public health law relating to depressant and stimulant drugs which was defined as a misdemeanor by section seventeen hundred forty-seven-b of such former penal law.

(b) [As amended by L.1999, c. 635, § 11.  See, also, par. (b) below.] any of the following offenses defined in the penal law:  illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon;  possession of burglar's tools;  criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree;  escape in the third degree;  jostling;  fraudulent accosting;  endangering the welfare of a child;  the offenses defined in article two hundred thirty-five;  issuing abortional articles;  permitting prostitution;  promoting prostitution in the third degree;  stalking in the fourth degree;  stalking in the third degree;  the offenses defined in article one hundred thirty;  the offenses defined in article two hundred twenty.

(b) [As amended by L.1999, c. 635, § 15.  See, also, par. (b) above.] any of the following offenses defined in the penal law:  illegally using, carrying or possessing a pistol or other dangerous weapon;  possession of burglar's tools;  criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree;  escape in the third degree;  jostling;  fraudulent accosting;  endangering the welfare of a child;  the offenses defined in article two hundred thirty-five;  issuing abortional articles;  permitting prostitution;  promoting prostitution in the third degree;  stalking in the third degree;  stalking in the fourth degree;  the offenses defined in article one hundred thirty;  the offenses defined in article two hundred twenty.

18. “Armor piercing ammunition” means any ammunition capable of being used in pistols or revolvers containing a projectile or projectile core, or a projectile or projectile core for use in such ammunition, that is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of any of the following:  tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or uranium.

19. “Duly authorized instructor” means (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) by a person duly qualified and designated by the department of environmental conservation under paragraph d of subdivision six of section 11-0713 of the environmental conservation law as its agent in the giving of instruction and the making of certifications of qualification in responsible hunting practices.

20. “Disguised gun” means any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive and is designed and intended to appear to be something other than a gun.

21. “Semiautomatic” means any repeating rifle, shotgun or pistol, regardless of barrel or overall length, which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge or shell to extract the fired cartridge case or spent shell and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge or shell.

22. “Assault weapon” means

(a) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

(iii) a thumbhole stock;

(iv) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

(v) a bayonet mount;

(vi) a flash suppressor, muzzle break, muzzle compensator, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle break, or muzzle compensator;

(vii) a grenade launcher;  or

(b) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least one of the following characteristics:

(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) a thumbhole stock;

(iii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

(iv) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of seven rounds;

(v) an ability to accept a detachable magazine;  or

(c) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

(ii) a thumbhole stock;

(iii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;

(iv) capacity to accept an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

(v) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;

(vi) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned;

(vii) a manufactured weight of fifty ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded;  or

(viii) a semiautomatic version of an automatic rifle, shotgun or firearm;

(d) a revolving cylinder shotgun;

(e) a semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic shotgun or a semiautomatic pistol or weapon defined in subparagraph (v) of paragraph (e) of subdivision twenty-two of section 265.00 of this chapter as added by chapter one hundred eighty-nine of the laws of two thousand and otherwise lawfully possessed pursuant to such chapter of the laws of two thousand prior to September fourteenth, nineteen hundred ninety-four;

(f) a semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic shotgun or a semiautomatic pistol or weapon defined in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of this subdivision, possessed prior to the date of enactment of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which added this paragraph;

(g) provided, however, that such term does not include:

(i) any rifle, shotgun or pistol that (A) is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action;  (B) has been rendered permanently inoperable;  or (C) is an antique firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(16);

(ii) a semiautomatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition;

(iii) a semiautomatic shotgun that cannot hold more than five rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine;  or

(iv) a rifle, shotgun or pistol, or a replica or a duplicate thereof, specified in Appendix A to 18 U.S.C. 922 as such weapon was manufactured on October first, nineteen hundred ninety-three.  The mere fact that a weapon is not listed in Appendix A shall not be construed to mean that such weapon is an assault weapon;

(v) any weapon validly registered pursuant to subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter.  Such weapons shall be subject to the provisions of paragraph (h) of this subdivision;

(vi) any firearm, rifle, or shotgun that was manufactured at least fifty years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof that is validly registered pursuant to subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter;

(h) Any weapon defined in paragraph (e) or (f) of this subdivision and any large capacity ammunition feeding device that was legally possessed by an individual prior to the enactment of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which added this paragraph, may only be sold to, exchanged with or disposed of to a purchaser authorized to possess such weapons or to an individual or entity outside of the state provided that any such transfer to an individual or entity outside of the state must be reported to the entity wherein the weapon is registered within seventy-two hours of such transfer.  An individual who transfers any such weapon or large capacity ammunition device to an individual inside New York state or without complying with the provisions of this paragraph shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor unless such large capacity ammunition feeding device, the possession of which is made illegal by the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which added this paragraph, is transferred within one year of the effective date of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which added this paragraph.

23. “Large capacity ammunition feeding device” means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, that (a) has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition, or (b) [Suspended and not effective, pursuant to L.2013, c. 57, pt. FF, § 4, eff. March 29, 2013, deemed eff. Jan. 15, 2013.] contains more than seven rounds of ammunition, or (c) [Suspended and not effective, pursuant to L.2013, c. 57, pt. FF, § 4, eff. March 29, 2013, deemed eff. Jan. 15, 2013.] is obtained after the effective date of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which amended this subdivision and has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than seven rounds of ammunition;  provided, however, that such term does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition or a feeding device that is a curio or relic.  A feeding device that is a curio or relic is defined as a device that (i) was manufactured at least fifty years prior to the current date, (ii) is only capable of being used exclusively in a firearm, rifle, or shotgun that was manufactured at least fifty years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof, (iii) is possessed by an individual who is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm and (iv) is registered with the division of state police pursuant to subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter, except such feeding devices transferred into the state may be registered at any time, provided they are registered within thirty days of their transfer into the state.  Notwithstanding paragraph (h) of subdivision twenty-two of this section, such feeding devices may be transferred provided that such transfer shall be subject to the provisions of section 400.03 of this chapter including the check required to be conducted pursuant to such section.

24. “Seller of ammunition” means any person, firm, partnership, corporation or company who engages in the business of purchasing, selling or keeping ammunition.

25. “Qualified retired New York or federal law enforcement officer” means an individual who is a retired police officer as police officer is defined in subdivision thirty-four of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, a retired peace officer as peace officer is defined in section 2.10 of the criminal procedure law or a retired federal law enforcement officer as federal law enforcement officer is defined in section 2.15 of the criminal procedure law, who:  (a) separated from service in good standing from a public agency located in New York state in which such person served as either a police officer, peace officer or federal law enforcement officer;  and (b) before such separation, was authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, and had statutory powers of arrest, pursuant to their official duties, under the criminal procedure law;  and (c) (i) before such separation, served as either a police officer, peace officer or federal law enforcement officer for five years or more and at the time of separation, is such an officer;  or (ii) separated from service with such agency, after completing any applicable probationary period of such service, due to a service-connected disability, as determined by such agency at or before the time of separation;  and (d)(i) has not been found by a qualified medical professional employed by such agency to be unqualified for reasons relating to mental health;  or (ii) has not entered into an agreement with such agency from which the individual is separating from service in which that individual acknowledges he or she is not qualified for reasons relating to mental health;  and (e) is not otherwise prohibited by New York or federal law from possessing any firearm.


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