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What the NY SAFE Act means for gun owners

Signed into law by Governor Cuomo on January 15, 2013, the NY SAFE Act, has serious implications for those facing gun charges. Learn what penalties the NY SAFE Act posits and how all New York gun owners can stay safe.

What Is The NY SAFE Act?

Passed in the devastating aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, the NY SAFE Act purports to be the country's toughest gun control law.

The Act's many provisions include:

  • Enhanced penalties, including life without parole, for those convicted of killing first responders
  • NICS checks mandated for all private gun sales (with exception for gun transfers between relatives)
  • Mental health checks prior to granting of firearms permits
  • Mandatory safe firearms storage for those dwelling with convicted felons, with misdemeanor charge for violations of this provision
  • Mandatory background checks when buying ammunition
  • Provision of new gun crimes and broader definition of assault weapons
  • Stronger sentences for gun charges
  • Felony charge for taking a gun into school property
  • Mandatory state registration of assault weapons and ban on new sales of assault weapons
  • Failure to report a stolen weapon in 24 classified as misdemeanor

Responsible gun owners in New York must take extra steps to stay on the right side of the law. Yet, these individuals will still enjoy access to guns and ammunition subject to background checks. If you own a weapon that is now classified as an assault weapon, you do not have to sell it. You may keep your weapon but must register it with the state.

New pressure is placed on gun owners to keep track of guns. In a worst-case scenario, if your child steals your gun and engages in a school shooting, you could face criminal liability for not reporting the missing gun.

Implications For Those Facing A Weapons Charge

If you stand accused of a gun crime, your penalties could be stiffer. Felonies in New York have a far greater impact on your life than misdemeanor conviction. Misdemeanors come with shorter jail sentences. Felonies carry sentences over one year. Convicted felons cannot vote while serving time, are ineligible for government jobs for 5+ years, cannot join the army, may not own a gun or receive a firearms license, and may face difficulties re-entering society after imprisonment.

It is in your best interest to avoid a felony conviction if you face a gun charge. The best way to avoid a conviction is to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney who knows how to fight NY SAFE Act charges.

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Robert D. DiDio
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