In most cases if a state declares a substance or procedure to be illegal it doesn’t prohibit one from going to another state where said substance (marijuana) or procedure (abortion) is legal.

But this isn’t the case with firearms. How can a state (NY for example) prohibit a resident of that state from purchasing a firearm in another state?

I understand, and respect the fact, that a state can prevent the resident from bringing the newly purchased firearm into the state.

I understand that the state can prevent non-residents from bringing a firearm with them even though it's legal in the other state. But on what grounds can a state prevent a purchase in another state. One can have a second home there; one can have family; one may be able to store the firearms there.

Is this situation unique to firearms or do such prohibitions exist in other arenas as well?

  • 4
    Which NY law are you talking about?
    – Greendrake
    May 22, 2019 at 22:46
  • @Greendake - I looked and couldn't find any. The answer below seems to provide the answer.
    – TimDev
    May 23, 2019 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


Because the prohibition of selling to a resident of another state isn't a state law, but rather a Federal law. ATF explains

May a licensee sell a firearm to a nonlicensee who is a resident of another State?

Generally, a firearm may not lawfully be sold by a licensee to a nonlicensee who resides in a State other than the State in which the seller’s licensed premises is located... In addition, a licensee may sell a rifle or shotgun to a person who is not a resident of the State where the licensee’s business premises is located in an over–the–counter transaction, provided the transaction complies with State law in the State where the licensee is located and in the State where the purchaser resides.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(3); 27 CFR 478.99(a)]

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