Not mean to be a political statement in any way, the following is arguably a simple “fact.” Prosecutors in New York City and the surrounding suburbs have little sympathy and compassion for individuals arrested for firearm and weapon crimes. This assertion can be attributed to those crimes where a gun, pistol or other weapon is stolen and defaced or where the gun in question is legally registered, but not within the borders of New York City or New York State. The message is clear from these District Attorneys. Do not bring unlicensed firearms into their respective jurisdictions even if it is legally owned and carried elsewhere. If you do, you will be arrested and prosecuted for a wide range of potential felony crimes including Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 265.03), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (New York Penal Law 265.02), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (New York Penal Law 265.01)and the newest member of the “illegal firearm family,” Criminal Possession of a Firearm (New York Penal Law 265.01-b(1)).
Prior to the enactment of NY PL 265.01-b(1), Criminal Possession of a Firearm, in order for an illegally possessed gun or pistol to be bumped from a misdemeanor to a felony crime, the firearm had to be possessed outside the home or place of business and be loaded (it must always be operable as well). If it was not harsh enough that New York law deems a gun loaded even when ammunition may not be inside the weapon, the New York Penal Law has created an even more sever punishment for possessing a firearm without any ammunition at all. To be very clear, if you possess a gun or a pistol in New York without a permit, you will no longer have the “luxury” of facing only a misdemeanor crime. Instead, your knowing possession of the illegal and operable firearm is an “E” felony and carries a sentence by as much as four years in prison. Again, it makes no difference in the eyes of the law if the firearm is stolen or one that you legally owned in Iowa, Alabama or California because if you do not have a license or permit in New York (or New York City), your possession is a violation of the law.
Some New Yorkers, who prior to March 13, 2013, legally owned and registered their respective firearms, may not avoid the potential carnage of this law. According to New York Penal Law 265.01-b(2), a knowing failure to register certain firearms subsequent to the enactment of the law is also an “E” felony.
Again, this blog entry is not a means to articulate the negative and positive implications of New York’s strict firearm laws, but should serve as a warning to any tourist, visitor, business person or resident of New York State. If you have a firearm that is not legally registered in New York with a permit allowing your possession in a manner in which you currently have it, you will be arrested. If you come to New York City with that weapon in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx or Queens, do not be shocked if you feel the force of the law. It may not be the minimum of three and one half years in prison that you would face if the firearm was loaded (New York Penal Law 265.03), but just as ignorance of the law is no defense to the more serious crime, the same can be said for Criminal Possession of a Firearm.
To learn and read about New York firearm, gun and weapon laws, including Criminal Possession of a Firearm, click through the links above or down below where you can find New-York-Lawyers.org and the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com. Combined, these resources have information from legal decisions interpreting New York criminal law to the actual Penal New York Law statutes.
Saland Law PC, a New York criminal defense firm, represents clients arrested for misdemeanor and felony weapon possessions ranging from gravity knifes to firearms possessed at NYC area airports. Prior to establishing the law practice, the two founding New York criminal lawyers served as Assistant District Attorneys in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.