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Illegal weapons: what you can and cannot possess

You might be wondering what qualifies as an "illegal weapon" in New York State. The short answer is: everything. Whether you use an AK-47 or a kitchen knife, you may be charged with a crime if you have intent to threaten or harm someone. Having an illegal weapon in your possession without the intent to harm anyone is somewhat different, although it is still a crime. There are a number of types of weapons that are illegal for anyone to possess.

Which Weapons Are Illegal To Possess?

According to Article 265 of the New York Penal Code, it is illegal to possess the following weapons: Kung Fu star, shirken, wrist-brace slingshot or slungshot, electronic dart or stun gun, metal or plastic knuckles, metal knuckle knife, pilum ballistic knife, gravity knife, cane sword, switchblade, blackjack, sand club, sandbag, bludgeon, chuka stick or any firearm. If you possess any of these weapons you may be found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor.

Many other items are considered illegal weapons in New York State if they are possessed with the intent to cause harm including the following: a dangerous knife, dagger, razor, stiletto, and dirk. If you have been convicted of a serious offense or felony, it is illegal for you to possess weapons such as antique or muzzle-loading firearms, rifles, or shotguns. The more dangerous the weapon, the higher the degree of criminal offense you will be charged with; the worse your offense, the harsher the sentence.

Sentencing

Illegal possession of a weapon is a lesser crime than illegal possession with intent to do harm. However, if you're found guilty of either one you may be found guilty of a crime and face serious consequences. Your punishment, or sentencing, may include community service, a fine anywhere from $100 to $10,000, jail time between one and five years, and even the loss of your driver's license.

If you are found with one of the illegal weapons listed above in your possession, you may be convicted of a crime. If you have previously been convicted of a felony and have a firearm in your possession, it is possible for what might have been a misdemeanor on your record to become another felony. The laws regarding possession of weapons are complicated and vary from state to state. If you are arrested for possession of an illegal weapon, regardless of whether you've ever been arrested or not, you should seek counsel from an experienced criminal attorney as early as possible.

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Robert D. DiDio
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