As a gun lawyer, I defend clients charged with unlawfully possessing firearms and other weapons.
Although the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed", possession of firearms is strictly regulated in New York State, especially in New York City.
To avoid violating New York's gun laws, it's important to understand them. Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that illegally possessing a firearm in New York can result in:
Many US citizens unwittingly violate the law by entering New York with firearms that they lawfully possess in their home state. The damage this may cause to a person's life can be tragic.
New York has some of the toughest weapons laws in the country, with especially tough sentences reserved for firearms.
Be careful when reviewing these laws. They're confusing. Don't attempt to interpret or act on any weapons laws in New York without the consulting a lawyer.
For example, possessing a loaded firearm in New York is a Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail. However, it's also a Class C felony, with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a minimum sentence of 3½ years.Understanding some gun laws could cause you to greatly underestimate your potential criminal liability.
The following are some of New York's weapon possession laws:
Carries a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail.
Includes possessing any of the following weapons, with or without the intent to use the weapon unlawfully:
Includes possessing the following weapons with intent to use it unlawfully:
Includes possessing the following weapons by a person convicted of a felony or serious offense:
Includes possessing any dangerous or deadly weapon by a person who isn't a citizen of the United States.
Includes knowingly possessing a bullet containing an explosive substance designed to detonate upon impact; or armor piercing ammunition with intent to use the same unlawfully against another person.
Carries a maximum sentence of 4 years in jail.
Includes possessing any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded.
This 2013 law elevated possession of an unloaded firearm from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in jail.
Includes the following:
Carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail.
Carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail.
Includes the following:
There are numerous exemptions to New York's laws outlawing guns and other weapons.
For citizens who aren't members of the military or law enforcement, the most important exemption is for "possession of a pistol or revolver by a person to whom a license therefor has been issued" by the State of New York.
You can find the full list of New York's exemptions here.
Note that New York doesn't recognize a firearms license issued by any other state. Only New York can license you to carry a firearm in New York.
And, very important, only New York City can license you to carry a firearm in New York City:
"Subject to limited exceptions, possession of a handgun or rifle/shotgun in New York City requires a license (for handguns) or a permit (for rifles/shotguns) issued by the NYPD License Division."
A New York State issued license or permit will not authorize you to carry a firearm in the City.
If you’ve been charged with possessing a gun or any other weapon, you need to explore all possible defenses, including “suppression”.
Suppression is a remedy that courts apply when police illegally seize evidence. When a court grants suppression, the prosecutor may not introduce illegally seized evidence at your trial.
For example, if police enter your home and search it without a warrant, consent, or “exigent circumstances”, and find a gun inside your bedroom closet, the gun should be “suppressed.” If the gun is suppressed, the prosecutor can’t introduce evidence about the gun at your trial. Without this evidence, gun possession charges might be dismissed as unable to be proved.
I'm a gun lawyer. I defend clients charged with possessing and selling firearms in New York City. Call me anytime for a free consultation at 212-390-0036, or complete this short form:
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