We presented three tips about gun laws and ownership in New York in last week’s Insights installment. Our visitors and social media followers were inspired and sent us some follow-ups that we are happy to address. D’Emilia Law’s founders spent decades prosecuting illegal weapons possession charges and now, as criminal defense lawyers in NYC, we can comment on the current laws in the state and New York City.
To be clear, we should note that we are not advising you to buy a weapon, though you may have the right to do so. Each situation is unique and knowing how to legally purchase a gun from the outset can help you avoid criminal charges for weapons possession.
What are the Differences Regarding Gun Carry Laws in New York City and Other Counties?
D’Emilia Law has represented clients who have been charged with criminal weapons possession in New York City because they mistakenly believed that gun-carry licenses issued in another county are also valid. This confusion is compounded by the fact that several other states recognize New York’s gun carry permits.
New York City has its own rules for purchasing and carrying firearms. To own a handgun, you need a valid New York Pistol License (NYCPL). To own a rifle or shotgun, you need a City-issued permit.
The law is specific when traveling through NYC with a handgun:
- The firearm and ammo must be in separate locked boxes and placed in the trunk.
- Transport within New York City must be continuous and uninterrupted.
- You may not stop in the city.
These laws and rules are designed to ensure the safety of millions of residents and visitors. The potential for public endangerment is also why, for example, possession of a loaded firearm is considered a felony in New York City.
Can I Still Legally Purchase a Gun Despite a Prior Conviction?
Our answer is often: “It depends on the conviction.”
New York State law says one key eligibility requirement is that you may “Have no prior felony or serious offense convictions.”
You can generally expect NY State and NYC will deny your firearms license application if you have a felony conviction. A felony is a serious offense often involving violent and non-violent crimes, such as murder, manslaughter, and white-collar fraud. Consequences usually include lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.
A misdemeanor is less severe and typically comes with a lighter sentence. Examples include traffic violations, petty theft, and simple assault. If you have a misdemeanor conviction, your county’s assessor may heavily scrutinize your application for a carry-conceal license, and an approval may take longer than expected.
Matters may become more complex if you have a prior conviction, but need a gun for employment purposes or to protect a business. For example, someone with a DWI arrest in NYC may encounter challenges securing a license for a new job as a security guard. Consulting a criminal defense lawyer NYC can help you take the right steps in legally purchasing a weapon for a business-related purpose.
How Does NY State Protect My Privacy Regarding Gun Ownership?
There are many reasons why someone would not want their gun ownership information made public.
Whether you need your gun for your job, on a specific premise, or for self-protection, lawful gun ownership can make you a target for harassment or theft. Your privacy is protected under the NY SAFE Act; notify your county clerk and complete a NYS Firearms License Request for Public Records Exemption form. The key detail is checking the box that best describes the reason(s) your information should not be publicly disclosed. Each scenario is different and you are also given the option of providing additional supportive information. Supplying evidence is usually very helpful. The clerk’s office may be available to guide you, but you may consult with your criminal defense NYC lawyer to confidentially discuss the matter.
Owning and carrying a gun is a huge responsibility. If the police take you into custody for misuse or even matters of self-defense, you should call a criminal defense attorney in NYC. We have also provided tips your loved ones can follow to help your defense.
D’Emilia Law maintains that an arrest is not the end of your life and not the same as a conviction. A strong and strategic defense can uphold your innocence, keep you out of jail and reduce your charges and fines.