New York And Weapons Law

     A few days ago, owing to an unfortunate incident that occurred here at the Fortress recently, I visited a local firearms emporium for the first time in some years. In the process I learned a few things of which I “should” have been aware some time ago.

     New York state is highly unfriendly to the private ownership of firearms. That’s not exactly a secret; it’s been one of the most gun-averse states in the Union for more than a century. The rationale has always been “protecting” its residents, despite the clear and irrefutable evidence that more guns in private hands correlates very strongly with less crime and greater social peace. In sequel to the NYSRPA vs. Bruen decision handed down by the Supreme Court, the state government passed a “Concealed Carry Improvement Act” (CCIA) in a despairing attempt to keep private-citizen New Yorkers from acquiring and carrying handguns. That law has already been challenged in state courts.

     Before my visit to the gun store, I thought I was aware of the full ramifications of the CCIA. I wasn’t. My discoveries shocked me near to paralysis.


     The CCIA is aimed most squarely at the right to own and carry a handgun. It imposes absurd requirements on the applicant for a handgun permit. In particular, it imposes a social-media disclosure requirement on the applicant, supposedly to ensure that he is “of good moral character.” Who evaluates such things? In most New York counties, it’s either the local police department or the sheriff’s department.

     Bad enough, eh? Yet one more entirely subjective rationale under which to deny a man’s right to keep and bear arms. But wait: there’s more! The legislature didn’t stop with handgun restrictions; it also changed the law regarding long guns. Since September 4, 2022, a New Yorker must acquire a license to purchase any semi-automatic rifle, regardless of caliber!

     Mind you, the state didn’t bother to create a licensing authority for rifles. It merely delegated the job to the counties. In my county of Suffolk on Long Island, the police department is that authority – and that authority has decreed that one must acquire a handgun license to purchase a semi-auto rifle.

     Applicants for handgun licenses face a two to three year wait for approval or denial. Give that a spin on your merry-go-round.


     Now for a palate-cleanser, regard the following:

     The above is KelTec’s KSG bullpup shotgun, chambered in 12 gauge. It’s only 26” long, has an ammunition capacity of 14 shells, has a felt recoil comparable to a 20 gauge pump-action shotgun, and is completely legal to purchase in New York state.

     New York state law does not address high-capacity shotguns. Indeed, there’s a more advanced model, the KSG25, that can hold 24 shells. What does this do to the state’s rationale for licensing the purchase of handguns and semi-auto rifles?

     Yes, I’m saving up for one as we speak.


     This mess, in a state in which crime is rampant and criminals routinely carry guns, must provoke a true cleansing of laws. I would have thought the Bruen decision would do the job. Instead, it’s resulted in a kind of “defensive lawfare:” the state legislature enacts an anti-2nd Amendment law, waits for the courts to strike it down, and immediately enacts another, which it enforces until another court redresses the matter. Even those of us who are passionate about the right to keep and bear arms are barely able to keep up.

     Only the federal courts can cure this disease. Yet despite the Supreme Court’s recent willingness to defend the right to keep and bear arms, there are significant difficulties involved. Lawsuits cost money, time, and effort. Most private citizens lack the legal knowledge and wherewithal. State legislatures such as the one in New York are state-funded, well supplied with legal resources, and operate essentially without restraint.

     A couple of days ago, Florida enacted a permitless-carry law for concealed weapons: as close to “constitutional carry” as a state can get without wholly renouncing all licensing authority. That made it the 26th state to do so. With a majority of the states in conformance with the 2nd Amendment, how much longer can states such as California, Illinois, and New York continue to flout the clear text of the Constitution?

     Your guess is as good as mine.


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    • Mike in Canada on April 6, 2023 at 8:32 AM

    With profound respect, the KSG is pump-action, not semi-automatic. Similarly, the KS7 is as well (although, the recoil is markedly heavier).
    I heartily endorse the idea of a shotgun as a home defense weapon. They are defensive by nature, as it is difficult to be offensive with a weapon having a maximum effective range of perhaps 65 yards (smooth-bore, buckshot loaded, mind), so less likely to be used, er, experimentally.
    In addition, there is a perception that a shotgun is the traditional weapon used by homeowners defending their families from that which goes bump in the night. Given that this is a 500-year-old technology, this lineage is no wonder.
    If this is the sort of choice left to us by the politics of the day, then so be it. Very few things beat a 12 gauge at close range.
    Eat lead, scumsuckers. With a KSG, you can be obnoxious for quite a while before reloading.
    Blessings to you & your house.

    1. Ah, you’re correct. I was looking at the wrong listing.

    • Dan on April 6, 2023 at 7:17 PM

    Until criminals posing as legislators are punished in a meaningful personally painful manner for passing  laws deliberately designed to violate our rights nothing will change.  They will continue to do so.  When you face no personal consequences for your criminality why stop being a criminal? 

    • Butch DuCote on April 6, 2023 at 7:38 PM

    65 yards maximum effective range with buckshot is very overly optimistic. I recently did a demonstration using double ought buckshot. 25 yards is the limit of most folks. At thirty yards  only two pellets hit the human size target. A rule of thumb of shot dispersion is an inch a yard. You are responsible for all nine pellets so use it wisely. 

      • Mike in Canada on April 7, 2023 at 6:40 AM

      You are of course correct, sir. My mistake.


    • Seething on April 6, 2023 at 8:28 PM

    Esteemed Curmudgeon Emeritus,
    I own a lovely KelTec bull pup 12 gauge. It never fails to draw stares of awe at the range. It also never fails to leave bruises on my shoulder. Nasty ones. I’m not anemic and am rather strapping. I’m sure skilled folks have technique to offset the recoil, such as somehow pressing forward with the left hand as one pulls the trigger, but that’s beyond me. Perhaps I’m shooting too many rounds. Whatever the reason, I would use the KelTec only when concealing it under my leather duster to rescue Morpheus as needed, but use my Saiga with a 12 round stick mag (perhaps illegal in NY) for other needs…

    1. Seethe, I’m told that the recoil can be lessened by working with low-recoil shells, and / or by using lower-weight shells. I have a Mossberg 12 gauge — admittedly, with a barrel modified to reduce recoil — and when firing 1 oz. shells it has about the same recoil as my 20 gauge. When firing low-recoil shells, it’s actually a lighter recoil than my 20 gauge. Perhaps you might try those possibilities out and let me know how it goes for you?

  1. I’m too old and fragile to be able to take more than one shot without incurring some serious bodily damage – mine!
    But, yeah, get that one. It looks seriously bada$$, and just the sight alone may well lead the invaders to flee.

    • Historian on April 7, 2023 at 11:13 PM

    Apologies for the long response, but this wants some detail:
    With regard to the capability of the ‘shotty’-  I agree with Butch- an Improved Cylinder will deliver about a 30″ pattern at 30 yards with standard buckshot. Give or take.  Much depends on the particular gun and ammunition lot, so it is well to test.   It is worth noting that there are a number of different sizes of buckshot ranging from 000 to #4; my preferred load is either #1 buck, which provides 16 pellets albeit somewhat smaller, or #4 buck, which provides 27 pellets, preferably plated and in a flight control wad, which keeps the dispersion down somewhat.  Use of buckshot in anything other than a very rural environment requires absolute adherence to rule 4 and a knowledge of the dispersion of your load in your shotgun and the distance to target. 
    My shotty will deliver standard US Foster slugs into a 6″ 5 shot group at 100 yards.  It does slightly better with Brenneke slugs.  Most good US made pump ‘deer barrel’ shotguns can deliver slugs inside an 8-10 inch group at a hundred, but the trajectory requires some knowledge, and again, YMMV. Slugs, however, can overpenetrate- the last deer I killed with a 12 gage slug died, literally, in its tracks, but I never did find the slug, which left a 4″ exit wound and departed for a landing point in the wooded hillside behind the deer somewhere.  I never found it.
    Red dot sights are very useful, and so are “ghost ring” sights, which Mossberg has available standard on some models. In this day and age, especially in an unfriendly venue where stray projectiles can become a very serious threat, precise shot placement is essential.  The old brass bead is fine for birds, but social use requires proper sights.
    As regards recoil management, this requires practice (I start teaching with lightweight birdshot loads,) but the essential is that the butt must be held as tightly as possible to the shoulder, which MUST be pushed hard against the shotgun butt.  Proper length of pull is also very important; better too short than too long, but fit really matters on a shotgun.  The more firm the butt placement in the shoulder pocket the better, and a good Pachmyer recoil pad helps too.  Expert training may be required to ensure proper stance and hold, but properly done, a petite woman can manage the recoil of  2 3/4″ slugs and buckshot in a normal weight, properly fitted shotgun without objection. 
    Now,  3″ magnum buckshot can get a bit brisk verging on unpleasant,  as they usually carry about half again the pellet load of the 2 3/4 shells. (So can shooting anything from a lightweight single barrel 12 gage.)  The reason I do not use such loads is that they take a little more time to deliver followup shots, and in social use, anything that extends the time required to properly service all your assailants is a bad thing.  One does not need anything more for 99% of the unarmored potential recipients than a 2 3/4 shell will deliver, and for that 1%, or for those with body armor,  a rapid followup headshot  does the job.  Messy, but effective.
    (Interestingly, Col Cooper noted some years back that the riot gun was widely regarded by the Europeans as being too brutal for police use, btw.)
    If you are constrained from the shotgun by age or infirmity, there is much to be said in favor of the lever action pistol caliber carbine for defense.  I’ve shot these fairly extensively in cowboy action matches, and they are short, fast, and handy; aftermarket peep sights are readily available.  With some practice, your hit rate out to 150 yards can be as good as any of the modern self loaders…..for the first 10 or 12 rounds.  After that, you’d need to reload.  They also add significantly to the muzzle velocity of the cartridge; with proper hollow points, this reduces the likelihood of overpenetration.  Those chambered for .357 magnum can take the lower powered .38 special, for familiarization and practice; likewise those in 44 magnum can take .44 specials.  If I were confined to New York and could pick only one defense arm, I’d probably get a lever action carbine, spend some money on an action job, get some training and then run it in a few cowboy action matches.   
    If the lever gun is too much to handle, I would consider a pump action .22 rimfire.  Some years ago, I had the chance to shoot a Brazilian copy of the old Winchester .22 pump in stainless steel, and as it did not have a disconnector, you could cycle that thing as fast as you could pump it.  After some practice, I could put 14 holes in pie plate at 10 yards in about 6 or 7 seconds, and hit a bottle cap with aimed fire at the same range.
    So, there are my thoughts and suggestions, Fran.
    Best regards to all who seek the Light,

    • Daniel K Day on April 8, 2023 at 12:14 AM

    Look into muzzle brakes for the KSG. A beefy, 220 lb (he said) guy firing one next to me at the range several years ago said recoil as-bought had been “unbearable” but had been far reduced by the muzzle brake on his shotgun. I’m afraid I’ve long since forgotten the name of it, but it’s probably still out there.

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