The United States Constitution guarantees American citizens the right to
bear arms. With that being said, these rights are not absolute, and the
states reserve the right to regulate the distribution, ownership, possession,
and legal use of firearms. New York gun laws are known for being particularly
strict, especially in New York City.
Are Permits Required to Own a Gun in New York?
Permits are required to legally purchase and own a firearm of any kind
in New York City, with permits only being required for handguns outside
of The Big Apple. Long guns such as rifles and shotguns may be purchased
without a permit outside of the city unless they fall under the definition
of an “assault weapon.” In 2013, New York State banned the
sale and possession of assault weapons under the NY Secure Ammunition
and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE), including weapons equipped with or
able to equip:
- A folding or telescoping stock
- A pistol grip
- A thumbhole stock
- A second handgrip
- A bayonet mount
- A flash suppressor or muzzle break
- A grenade launcher
Who Can Carry a Gun?
New York counties and certain police departments issue various types of
handgun licenses on a “may issue” basis, meaning that applicants
who meet the requirements must still obtain the discretional approval
of the issuing authority before being granted a license. Any applicant
for a license to carry a weapon outside of the home must be required to
show, in addition to the requirements for possession, that “proper
cause” exists for the issuance of a carry license.
Not all of these licenses allow unrestricted concealed carrying, though
for those that do, pistol permit holders who wish to carry must do so
in a concealed fashion. Open carry of a handgun is illegal in most instances
unless hunting or on one’s own property.
Criminal Possession of a Weapon
If a person is found to be in possession of a weapon without the necessary
licenses or a weapon that is unlawful itself, such as those prohibited
under the SAFE Act, they may be charged with criminal possession of a
weapon and face serious consequences. While simple possession is classified
as an A misdemeanor and can carry up to 1 year in jail, possessing three
or more prohibited firearms or having a previous criminal history can
boost these charges to a Class D violent felony and expose defendants
to up to 7 years in prison.
Reasons a person can be charged with illegal possession include:
- Possessing a firearm, dart gun, stun gun, switchblade, slingshot, or brass knuckles
- Possessing a firearm on school grounds
- Possessing a firearm as a non-U.S. citizen
- Possessing armor piercing ammunition
If the defendant possessed 5 or more firearms, had the intent to use them
unlawfully against another person, or the firearm was loaded, they can
face a Class C violent felony charge and up to 15 years in prison. Lastly,
those who possess 10 or more illegal firearms or an explosive device with
the intent to use it against another person or their property can be charged
with a Class B violent felony and face up to 25 years in prison upon conviction.
Charged with a Gun Crime? Call (888) 715-1735
Weapons crimes are a serious matter and are prosecuted with extreme tenacity. For this
reason, if you have been accused of any sort of weapon violation, it is
imperative you contact a powerful
Queens criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Kevin P. O’Donnell at once. Having been guarding
the rights of the accused for nearly 20 years, our team has the resources
and knowledge you need to ensure no stone is left unturned in your defense.
Your future is at stake –
contact us online today to start building your defense.