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Transportation of Firearms in New York

There are plenty of people who rightfully exercise their Second Amendment rights in their respective states while enjoying the freedom to own and possess a firearm. These people may own guns for sport, security, tradition, or a variety of other reasons. No matter the reason, it is important that anyone who owns a firearm and plans on traveling to, or even just through, New York understand the gun laws in the state and understand how to legally transport a firearm into or through the state.

There are many rules and regulations surrounding the transportation of firearms throughout the county, and New York is no exception. To best understand these many complex regulations, it is crucial that an individual contact a knowledgeable gun lawyer as soon as possible.

Legality of Transportation

Many gun owners, even after attempting to educate themselves on traveling with their firearm in or through New York, come to the conclusion that because they have a license or permit in their own state, took the classes for certification, and underwent background checks for all their gun purchasing and licensing, that their right to own and possess their guns carries over to the state, or that they can at the very least travel through New York to another state or states where they can lawfully own and possess the guns.

If an individual is stopped by law enforcement, and a gun is found in their possession that they cannot lawfully possess in this state, they may face serious charges and potential penalties including state prison time and a felony record. It is crucial that an individual consult with knowledgeable legal counsel before transporting their firearm in or through New York to avoid such consequences, or certainly after the point of being arrested and charged with possession of the firearm.

Severity of a Gun Charge

Even if an individual is completely honest, with a legitimate reason for having the firearm while traveling through the state, and had no knowledge or intent to break any laws in that regard, possession a gun in New York illegally is more than just a minor infraction. It’s a serious charge, and many prosecutors will take the position that there is no excuse good enough to avoid a criminal conviction. This means that such a person, who legally bought their gun in another state, and has all the licenses and education you could ever want regarding gun ownership, is now likely facing a felony and incarceration for the transportation and/or possession of their firearm. To reduce the penalties associated with the crime, it is imperative that an individual contact a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible.

Traveling Unlawfully

A person cannot have a firearm in the state of New York unless they have the permits and license to do so, whether it is open carry or concealed carry. Without the requisite licensing, the person runs afoul the law. Some states do not have any such licensing requirements, even for handguns, but that is not the case in this state. Further, even if the gun is not loaded, and even when that was a deliberate and conscientious precaution taken by the gun owner, if the ammunition is accessible and available to load into the firearm then the law will deem that the weapon was loaded, which can lead to even more severe charges and punishment. Suffice it to say that, at that point, the person’s transportation and possession is that much more serious. Barring the exception found in federal law, transporting and possessing firearms unlawfully is always a crime.

Transporting Within the State

No one is allowed to possess a firearm without a license in New York. A person must have a permit and the license for the jurisdictions where they wish to carry it, which is often broken down on a county by county basis. Add to that the fact that New York City has it’s own separate and additional restrictions and laws restricting the possession and transportation of firearms, as one might expect. Someone coming into New York City from Rockland County or Dutchess County, for example someone who is moving to Manhattan, Brooklyn, or the Bronx, must have the requisite permissions and permit, or they cannot transport their firearm into one part of the state to the city. A permit or permission of this kind can be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to secure in most situations, especially in New York City.

FOPA: the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act

The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, or FOPA, protects people who are transporting firearms for lawful purposes from local laws that would otherwise penalize such possession. Under FOPA, a person may transport a firearm from one place where they can lawfully possess it to another place where they cannot lawfully possess it, even if they pass through a jurisdiction where they cannot lawfully possess it, provided the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. Some state or local governments, however, treat this FOPA protection as an “affirmative defense,” meaning you would still get arrested, but you could raise this statutory protection after the fact.

Number of Firearms

The number of firearms a person possesses or transported can also have a significant impact on the chares and penalties they may face, especially given that each and every weapon can be considered a separate and additional charge.

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Future

While Saland Law does not advise individuals as to whether they can carry or transport their firearm(s) through or within New York State for liability reasons, should you find yourself charged with one or more of the many crimes found in Article 265 of the Penal Law, the section governing such offenses as Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Criminal Possession of a Firearm, immediately contact an attorney versed in the statutes and experienced in representing individuals in New York City and elsewhere in the state. Before you find yourself unable to avoid the mandatory incarceration that many of these crimes require, take the steps to retain the right counsel - Jeremy Saland and Saland Law - to protect you today and well into the future.

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

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