Most Americans are aware that the Constitution of the United States gives its citizens the right to bear arms. However, what many Americans do not realize is that the states can regulate exactly what that mean. Hence, in New York, many times there are convictions for carrying firearms, often caused by people simply being unaware of the particular state laws regarding firearms. While sometimes this is done unwittingly, others purposefully try to circumvent the statutes. Whatever the case may be, if you find that you have been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, you need a defense attorney who is knowledgeable in gun control laws.
Various Weapons In New York
Handguns are by far the gun most often used in a violent crime. Statistics by the FBI (National Bureau of Crime Statistics) show that the handgun was the weapon of choice in 84% of crimes committed with a weapon. There are many reasons for this (easily concealable), but the charges that can result from having a handgun during the commission of a crime are quite steep. In fact, statistically it is the handgun that is most likely to kill you, not the large military-grade automatic weapons.
However, military assault rifle and weapons are receiving much press as of late, because they have been used in the mass shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. This has caused renewed interest in the ban on assault rifles. Most Americans are well in favor of the ban on assault rifles, especially those in law enforcement.
Criminal Use of Firearm in New York
There are two main weapons charges in New York State; the Criminal Possession of a Firearm, and the Criminal use of the Firearm. The charges range in degree based on the intent of use of the weapon. For example, if you are protecting yourself from harm with a loaded weapon, it may be viewed as a lesser crime, as opposed to when you are actually trying to kill or harm someone with the loaded firearm. The latter charge is far more serious, as the firearm used this way is considered a deadly weapon.
Gun charges are a serious matter in New York State. Judges are trying to aid the police and keep them safe, so they are more likely to impose the maximum sentence allowed for the use of a deadly weapon during a crime. For example, the most serious offense is the criminal possession of a weapon, and is classified as a B violent felony. This carries with and automatic sentence of 25 years in prison. This is imposed if you are in possession of ten or more firearms, and if you are in possession of any explosive materials with the intent to commit harm to others.
A lesser weapons charge is known as Fourth Degree possession of a firearm, which is a misdemeanor, and includes such weapons as knives, knuckles, and instruments to cause harm to another.
What To Do If You Are Charged
If you are charged with criminal possession of a weapon in New York, you need a defense attorney who is well versed in the charge, and can offer a strategic defense. Have the law fight on your side for the right to bear arms.