Changes in New York Gun Laws

The gun laws in New York have become more and more difficult and more onerous on those people who find themselves facing a criminal prosecution for charges related to possession of a gun or firearm. There are specific reasonable complaints by many in the gun rights and firearms community about the gun laws in New York, and the changes those laws have undergone in recent years with respect to the laws becoming more and more restrictive over time. Many of these people are legitimate, honest, regular people who are simply exercising their Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, but unaware that if your firearm is not licensed in New York City, New York State or a particular jurisdiction, there is no reciprocity even if you legal possess that firearm elsewhere.

It appears that the State of New York, generally speaking, when faced with an issue on the fringes or borders between two opposing legitimate viewpoints, would rather err on the side of the more restrictive and cautious approach in order to protect those who are law-abiding citizens. There is no indication or sign that there will be any letup or cutting back of these laws in the foreseeable future in New York State. In fact, all indications are exactly to the contrary - these laws will continue to become more and more restrictive and onerous over time. The question is not whether the laws are reasonable or fair, but how you can protect yourself from being arrested for a felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon crime pursuant to New York Penal Law Article 265.

If you are experiencing pending firearm charges due to the recent changes in New York gun laws or the existing statutes, it is critical to contact an attorney familiar with crimes including NY Penal Law sections 265.02, 265.03 and 265.01-b1. New York, and New York City specifically, have such restrictive gun laws that it is easy for an otherwise law-abiding person to find themselves in a misunderstanding that can be readily explained, if the person has an experienced attorney who knows how and to whom to present that explanation. Does this mean that the District Attorney will merely drop your charges should you articulate an honest mistake? No, but the institutional knowledge on the part of a criminal attorney in this area can be the critical difference between a serious felony conviction, and a misdemeanor or even dismissal. Simply, a distinguished firearm lawyer can help defend your rights and your future.

Role of New York Laws

It is likely that in the more urban settings and densely populated areas, there is a fear on the part of the New York State Legislature that if concealed weapons were commonplace, then there would be a vastly increased potential for acts of violence on a regular basis. It is important to recognize the distinctions and differences between how these concerns are unique to certain areas of the state, and not applicable in others. This has a large impact on how these cases are prosecuted and handled by the local District Attorney's Office.

Criminal possession of a firearm recently went from being a misdemeanor crime for unloaded firearms outside of a place of business or in the home to being a felony offense. It is now considered a more severe crime than ever to unlawfully possess a firearm, even if the gun or firearm is not loaded.

The changes to the gun laws also increased the penalties and potential sentences for a conviction to these charges. There are changes to laws about ammunition and limiting the amount and type of ammunition, limiting the type of license, and expanding assault weapon definitions. An attorney who is fully abreast of the latest statutes and laws in this fast-evolving and ever-changing area of criminal law will be able to effectively manage a criminal defense and ensure the best possible result.

Classifying Gun Laws

Relatively recent changes in New York gun laws include changes to certain aspects the class C violent felony of Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, NY Penal Law 265.03. A prosecutor no longer has to establish your intent to use that firearm unlawfully against another person in order to secure a conviction under that statute. In the past, if the District Attorney failed to establish this intent, the felony went from the class “C” violent Second-Degree offense to the class “D” felony of Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, New York Penal Law 265.02.

While the intent to use a firearm unlawfully still an element to a particular subsection of the CPW 2 statute, to reach the higher-level offense of the C violent felony, prosecutors need not even address a defendant's intent in possessing the firearm and what the person allegedly sought to do with the weapon in order to secure a conviction.

Whether you are arrested for a loaded or unloaded firearm at JFK or LaGuardia airports in Queens, stopped while driving through lower Manhattan and the NYPD recover a firearm from your glove compartment lawfully registered in your home state, or you were merely passing through New York State to a destination that honored your permit and licensure through reciprocity, the immediate consequences accusing you of violating Criminal Possession of a Weapon is potentially life altering. Be prepared, diligent, and ready to protect your rights. When there is no substitute for knowledge, experience and advocacy, contact the New York firearm lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC.

Call our New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan Prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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