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Firearms / Weapons Charges

New York has the strictest firearm and weapons laws in the country. As a result, many people can find themselves facing criminal charges for having out-of-state licenses or permits not recognized by the state.

Whether you have been arrested for criminal sale of firearm, unlawful discharge of weapon, or criminal possession of weapon—including being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm—make sure that you have skilled legal representation. A conviction for a weapon or firearm offense in New York can result in serious consequences including a lengthy prison sentence as well as significant fines.

Although crime is down, over the last year, arrests for gun crimes have increased by more than 10%. In early January of 2016, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced a planned new initiative for special “gun courts” to expediate the prosecution and sentencing for firearm related charges.

Shortly thereafter, a collaborative announcement between the mayor’s office, the district attorneys’ offices, the court system, and the NYPD was announced. As prosecutors funnel these cases into one division with specially trained Assistant District Attorneys, you also need a criminal defense attorney focused on defending firearm charges in New York City.

Firearms / Weapons Defense Lawyer in Manhattan

Greco Neyland, PC helps clients throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn and the surrounding areas of New York City who have been accused of firearms or weapons crimes under state or federal law. As former prosecutors, Jeffery L. Greco and Dustan O. Neyland understand what types of evidence weaken the prosecutor’s case. They will develop a formidable defense by conducting a thorough investigation of the charges against you.

If you have been charged with a weapons or firearms crime in New York, let our firm review your case to help you understand your legal options. Call (212) 951-1300 right now to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of New York Firearms / Weapons Charges


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Weapons Definitions

New York Penal Law § 265.00 contains definitions for the many firearms and other dangerous weapons offenses under state law:

  • Antique Firearm — Any unloaded muzzle loading pistol or revolver with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system, or a pistol or revolver which uses fixed cartridges which are no longer available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.
  • Armor Piercing Ammunition — Any ammunition capable of being used in pistols or revolvers containing a projectile or projectile core, for use in such ammunition, that is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of any of the following: tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or uranium.
  • Assault Weapon — Can be a semiautomatic shotgun or a semiautomatic rifle or semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and also meets certain other characteristics. May also be a revolving cylinder shotgun.
  • Automatic Knife — Includes a stiletto, a switchblade knife, a gravity knife, a cane sword, a pilum ballistic knife, and a metal knuckle knife.
  • Cane Sword — A cane or swagger stick having concealed within it a blade that may be used as a sword or stiletto.
  • Chuka Stick — Any device designed primarily as a weapon, consisting of two or more lengths of a rigid material joined together by a thong, rope or chain in such a manner as to allow free movement of a portion of the device while held in the hand and capable of being rotated in such a manner as to inflict serious injury upon a person by striking or choking. These devices are also known as nunchakus and centrifugal force sticks.
  • Disguised Gun — Any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive and is designed and intended to appear to be something other than a gun.
  • Electronic Dart Gun — Any device designed primarily as a weapon, the purpose of which is to momentarily stun, knock out or paralyze a person by passing an electrical shock to such person by means of a dart or projectile.
  • Electronic Stun Gun — Any device designed primarily as a weapon, the purpose of which is to stun, cause mental disorientation, knock out or paralyze a person by passing a high voltage electrical shock to such person.
  • Firearm — Any pistol or revolver, shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length, a rifle having one or more barrels less than 16 inches in length, any weapon made from a shotgun or rifle whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise if such weapon as altered, modified, or otherwise has an overall length of less than 26 inches, or an assault weapon.
  • Firearm Silencer — Any instrument, attachment, weapon or appliance for causing the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearms to be silent, or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearms.
  • Gravity Knife — Any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device.
  • Kung Fu Star — A disc-like object with sharpened points on the circumference thereof and is designed for use primarily as a weapon to be thrown.
  • Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device — A magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition, contains more than seven rounds of ammunition, or is obtained after 2013 and has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than seven rounds of ammunition.
  • Loaded Firearm — Any firearm loaded with ammunition or any firearm which is possessed by one who, at the same time, possesses a quantity of ammunition which may be used to discharge such firearm.
  • Machine-Gun — Weapon of any description, irrespective of size, by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded, from which a number of shots or bullets may be rapidly or automatically discharged from a magazine with one continuous pull of the trigger and includes a sub-machine gun.
  • Metal Knuckle Knife — A weapon that, when closed, cannot function as a set of plastic knuckles or metal knuckles, nor as a knife and when open, can function as both a set of plastic knuckles or metal knuckles as well as a knife.
  • Pilum Ballistic Knife — Any knife which has a blade which can be projected from the handle by hand pressure applied to a button, lever, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.
  • Rifle — A weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.
  • Shotgun — A weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.
  • Switchblade Knife — Any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.
  • Semiautomatic — Any repeating rifle, shotgun or pistol, regardless of barrel or overall length, which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge or shell to extract the fired cartridge case or spent shell and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge or shell.

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New York Firearms / Weapons Offenses

New York’s Penal Law provides for several different types of weapons and firearms crimes listed under Article 265 including:


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Penalties for Charges Relating to Firearms and Weapons

Depending on the specific offense for which a person is charges, he or she can face the following consequences if convicted:

  • Class B Misdemeanor — Maximum sentence of three months in jail and $500 maximum fine
  • Class A Misdemeanor — Maximum sentence of one year in jail and $1,000 maximum fine
  • Class E Felony — Maximum sentence of four years in prison and $5,000 maximum fine
  • Class D Felony — Maximum sentence of seven years in prison and $5,000 maximum fine
  • Class C Felony — Maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and $5,000 maximum fine
  • Class B Felony — Maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and $5,000 maximum fine

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Second Amendment Defenses to Firearms Charges

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects every individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The state of New York, however, has a variety of laws regulating the sale, possession, and use of firearms that are considered some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country.

While a person may invoke his or her rights under the Second Amendment for weapon possession, this claim is not necessarily an acceptable defense to all firearms or weapons charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney can explore all of an alleged offender’s possible defense options, including possibly questioning the accuracy of a weapon description, challenging whether a police search was legally conducted, and exploring all other considerations that may create a reasonable doubt that weakens the prosecution’s case.


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New York Weapons Crime Resources

New York Police Department Gun Licensing — This website contains many answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about handgun licenses. This includes information about how to apply, what needs to be done to purchase or sell a handgun, and how to update licenses if a person is moving.

New York City Police Department
5th Precinct
19 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10013

New York State Police Firearms – Pistol Permit Bureau — Forms for assault weapons registration, pistol permits, and ammunition can be found on this website. There is also information about the minimum standards for gun locking devices and answers to frequently asked questions about public records exemptions.

Troop NYC
1 Wards Meadow Loop
New York, NY 10035
(917) 492-7100

New York Gun Laws for Visitors — Information about state, local, and federal gun laws can be found on this website. You can also find links to reports, press releases, and New York criminal law.

New York City Mayor’s Office
253 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
(212) 788-3000


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Attorney for Weapon Crimes in New York City – Grecy Neyland, PC

Dustan O. Neyland learned about the shortcuts investigators take in criminal cases during his time as a prosecuting attorney in misdemeanor and felony cases. Jeff Greco knows the many ways in which law enforcement officers violate the constitutional rights of alleged offenders or misuse alleged evidence.

Together at Greco Neyland, PC, they represents clients all over New York City. You can have them review your case during a free legal consultation when you call (212) 951-1300 today. Find out more about how to mount the best defense against any weapon or firearm charge in the State of New York, including cases prosecuted in the planned new initiative for special “gun courts” to expediate the prosecution and sentencing for firearm related charges.

This article was last updated Monday, June 27, 2016.

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