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Pistol Licenses

How to apply for and obtain a NYS Pistol License

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Putnam County

  1. Attend our NRA Basic Pistol Shooting course and obtain your course certificate.
  2. Download and complete the Putnam County Pistol License Application (click to download). Follow the instructions provided carefully. If any information is omitted, the application will be returned to you, and you get to start the whole process over again.
  3. Mail the completed application with a postal money order for the exact fee, a copy of your course certificate (do not submit the original!), and other applicable materials listed on the Check List on page 3 of the application instructions to:

      Putnam County Office of the Sheriff
      Three County Center
      Carmel, NY 10512
      Attn: Pistol Permits

  4. Wait. You will be contacted by the Sheriff’s Department with an appointment for having your fingerprints taken. This could take 6 to 8 weeks. Don’t miss your appointment!
  5. Wait some more. If your application is approved, you will receive notification in the mail. This could take 3 to 6 months. You may then pick up your NYS Pistol License from the County Clerk. It will most likely be restricted to Hunting and Target. (See below for upgrade instructions.)
  6. Tips for completing the application:

    • Type of License (page 1)

      There are three types of license you may request:

      • Hunting & Target – Firearm may only be transported directly to and from your residence and an authorized range or while actually afield hunting in a legal area in New York State. For hunting, you must also possess a valid New York State hunting license.
      • Business Purposes – Firearm may only be carried while actually engaged in conducting business for which the license was issued or traveling directly thereto or therefrom. Requirements for a business carry license are listed on the second page of the application instructions.
      • Unrestricted Carry – If you are not a police officer or peace officer, Putnam County will not issue this type of license without a hearing. The instructions indicate that you must show “additional proper cause” to qualify for this endorsement. You may request this type of license, but don’t be surprised when your license says “Restricted to Hunting & Target”. Don’t be discouraged, though. An unrestricted license is quite obtainable, but takes a little more time. See “Upgrading your License” below.

    • Character References (page 2)

      You will submit with your application 4 envelopes addressed to your character references. The County will use these envelopes to mail a questionnaire to your references. Be sure to let your references know that they will be receiving this questionnaire in the mail, and urge them to complete it and return it to the County as soon as possible. Any delay in the return of these letters to the County will further delay your application.

Upgrading your License to Unrestricted

To upgrade your license from Hunting & Target to Unrestricted:

  1. Make a written request for a hearing to upgrade your license. A sample letter is available here.
    Mail your request to:
      Putnam County Office of the Sheriff
      Three County Center
      Carmel, NY 10512
  2. Wait. You will receive a letter from the County with a date for your hearing. Your wait for a hearing will depend upon the court’s caseload, but currently the wait is approximately 6 months.
  3. Wait.
  4. Appear at the County Courthouse for your hearing.
  5. If your upgrade is approved, you will receive a Decision & Order in the mail within a few days. Bring this D&O and your restricted license to the County Clerk’s office to have the restriction removed from your license.

What to expect at your hearing

Note: This description is based upon the recent experiences of applicants appearing for an Unrestricted license. Your mileage may vary.

When you arrive at the courthouse, you will be directed to a waiting area with other applicants scheduled for the same session. When the court is ready to proceed, all applicants are ushered into the courtroom.

Present at your hearing will be the Judge, the Court Clerk, and an attorney representing the County. When you are called, you will step forward and be sworn under oath by the Clerk. The Judge will ask you a few questions:

  • What license do you currently possess, and how long have you possessed it?
  • Where are your guns stored when not in use?
  • Are you the only person who has access to your guns when not in use?
  • When was the last time you took a safety course?

The County Attorney may have questions for you, particularly if you have any arrests or convictions in your background.

Unless you have extreme extenuating circumstances, the judge will grant your request for an unrestricted license. So far, we have not heard from one person who was asked by the present court why they wanted an unrestricted license, or what justification they had for an unrestricted license. This, of course, is at the discretion of the presiding judge, but at present, the court is generally amenable to granting upgrade requests. The present court seems more concerned that you are committed to using and carrying your pistol safely.

In our courtroom observations, besides questions from the attorney about past arrests, the court only had additional questions under a couple of conditions:

  • If you have held your Target & Hunting permit less than a year, the court may ask what experience you have that will allow you to carry a gun safely.
  • If you have not taken a safety course within the past year, the court will grant your request with a requirement that you complete a safety course within 90 days.
    Avoid the question, and attend our safety course before your hearing!

If you are still apprehensive about your court appearance, we recommend that you sit in on a session in advance of your own hearing and observe the proceeding for yourself. You’ll see there’s really no reason to be nervous about it.

Good luck, and stay safe!