Firearms owners may take for granted the lenient licensing laws in many states. When carrying their weapons outside their homes, they run little risk of facing charges. Yet, residents of New York – as well as visitors to the state – must be careful when doing so. Under the state’s firearms laws, an honest mistake could qualify as a felony offense.

Understanding New York’s firearms laws

New York has some of the strictest firearm laws in the country. Individuals must register every firearm they own with the state, unless it is an antique or a long gun. The state also does not recognize firearms licenses or concealed carry permits from other jurisdictions. People visiting New York, then, could face charges for possessing a weapon that is legal to carry in their home state.

In New York, any individual found with an unregistered firearm in their possession may receive Class E felony charges. Convictions for criminal possession of a firearm carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year, as well as a fine of up to $5,000. First-time offenders may be eligible to serve an alternative definite sentence, which could last less than one year. Yet, state courts may only allow this depending on the individual’s character and prior record.

Fighting firearms charges

New York’s strict firearms laws aim to keep residents safe. Yet, the consequences that offenders face are severe, even if their actions were unintentional. A criminal defense attorney can help individuals understand and work through the penalties they may face.