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Criminal Sale of a Firearm (Second Degree)

New York laws deal harshly with illegal gun sales, but when multiple guns are involved, the penalties are even more unforgiving. All it takes is the sale of five guns to elevate a Criminal Sale of a Firearm charge from a third-degree felony offense to a more serious second-degree felony offense. The sale of 10 guns or more is a first-degree felony offense.

Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree is a Class C felony under New York Penal Law, Part 3, Title P, Article 265.12. The knowledge and unlawful sale, exchange, gift, or disposal of five or more operable firearms all at once to another person is illegal under this statute, as are the same actions involving another person or persons within a period of one year or less.

An arrest for this charge may occur when a person who is not authorized to possess a firearm possesses five to nine guns anyway and sells, exchanges, gives away, or disposes of them.

Penalties for a conviction of the criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree include up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, as well as the seizure and destruction of the guns.

Attorney for Second Degree Criminal Sale of a Firearm in Manhattan

If you were arrested for criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree in Manhattan or any of the five boroughs of New York City, then you should contact a criminal defense lawyer to assist you with the legal process. A qualified attorney will be able to explain the charge and defenses that might apply to the case. 

At Greco Neyland, PC, we represent people arrested on criminal firearm and weapon charges. We take the time to investigate each client’s situation in order to find the best course of action.

With Greco Neyland, PC as your advocate, you will have former prosecutors fighting on your behalf, so we know how the process works. We use our knowledge of criminal legal procedure to help our clients mount an aggressive defense. We represent clients in Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings County), The Bronx, and the other boroughs of New York City. Call us today at (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation


Information about Second Degree Criminal Sale of a Firearm in New York City


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Types of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree

New York Penal Law, Part 3, Title P, Article 265.12 states that a person is guilty of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree when that person knowingly and unlawfully:

  • Sells, exchanges, gives or disposes of to another (person a total of) five or more operable firearms (at one time); or
  • Sells, exchanges, gives or disposes of to another person or persons a total of five or more operable firearms in a period of not more than one year.

That means it is illegal to sell or otherwise exchange five or more guns at once to the same person or sell or otherwise exchange a total of five or more guns to any number of people within the span of a year.

Note: The illegal sale of 10 or more firearms elevates the crime to a first-degree offense (Class B violent felony). (See N.Y. P.L. § 265.13). Until late in 2005, the illegal sale of 10 or more firearms was a Class C felony in New York


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Definitions of Terms Related to Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree

Several key terms in the law are legally defined in the statutes, including firearm, knowingly, unlawfully, dispose of, and operable.

A “firearm” is defined in N.Y. P.L. § 265.00(3) as “any pistol or revolver.” Certain types of shotguns or rifles, as well as an “assault weapon,” are also considered to be “firearms,” but an “antique firearm” is not. (See N.Y. P.L. § 265.00 for definitions of these other weapons.)

Under N.Y. P.L. Part 1, Title B, Article 15.05(2), a person “knowingly” possesses a firearm when that person is “aware” that he or she is in possession of a firearm.

A person “unlawfully” sells, exchanges, gives or disposes of a firearm when that person has no legal right to do so. This includes people who do not have a gun license and other people prohibited from possessing a gun, such as convicted felons. (See N.Y. P.L. § 400).

“Dispose of” means “to dispose of, give, give away, lease, loan, keep for sale, offer, offer for sale, sell, transfer and otherwise dispose of.” (N.Y. P.L. § 265.00(6)).

A firearm does not need to be loaded for a person to be charged under this law, but the firearm must be “operable.” To be operable, a firearm must be “capable of discharging ammunition,” although previous court cases have established that the possessor of a gun does not need to know if the gun was operable in order to be charged.


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Elements of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree

In order to obtain a conviction in a case filed under N.Y. P.L. § 265.12, different elements must be proved beyond any reasonable doubt depending on the charge. That is because under the statute, the crime may be the sale or exchange of five to nine firearms at once to the same person or the sale or exchange of a total of five to nine firearms to any number of people within the span of a year.

Sale of a Five or More Firearms to One Person at the Same Time

In order for a defendant to be found guilty of a charge of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree (Sale of Five or More Firearms to One Person at the Same Time) under N.Y. P.L. § 265.12(1), a judge or jury must find that a person, beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Sold, exchanged, gave, or disposed of five or more firearms to another person on or about a certain date in a specific county;
  • Knowingly and unlawfully sold, exchanged, gave, or disposed of five or more firearms to another person on or about a certain date in a specific county; and
  • At least five of the firearms were operable.

N.Y. P.L. §265.12(1) applies to offenses committed on or after Dec. 21, 2005.

Sale of Five or More Firearms within One Year

In order for a defendant to be found guilty of a charge of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree (Sale of Five or More Firearms within One Year) under N.Y. P.L. § 265.12(2), a judge or jury must find that a person, beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Sold, exchanged, gave, or disposed of five or more firearms to another person or persons in a period of not more than one year on or about certain dates in a specific county;
  • Knowingly and unlawfully sold, exchanged, gave, or disposed of five or more firearms to another person or persons in a period of not more than one year on or about certain dates in a specific county; and
  • At least five of the firearms were operable.

N.Y. P.L. §265.12(2) applies to offenses committed on or after Dec. 21, 2005.


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Penalties for Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree

Criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree is a Class C Violent Felony Offense in New York. A Class C violent felony is punishable upon conviction by:

  • Up to 15 years in prison, and/or
  • A fine of up to $5,000

The firearm will also be confiscated by the police upon arrest and destroyed after a conviction.


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Resources Related to Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree

New York Penal Law, Part 3, Title P, Article 265.12 — Read the New York State law pertaining to criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree.

Jury Instructions for Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree (Sale of Five or More Firearms to One Person at the Same Time) — Visit the website of the New York State Unified Court System to find the standard criminal jury instructions (CJI) for Penal Law Offenses, including criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree (sale of five or more firearms to one person at the same time) on or after Dec. 21, 2005.

Jury Instructions for Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree (Sale of Five or More Firearms within One Year) — Visit the website of the NYSUCS to find the standard criminal jury instructions (CJI) for Penal Law Offenses, including criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree (sale of five or more firearms within one year) on or after Dec. 21, 2005.


Find an Attorney for Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree in New York City

If you were arrested in New York City for Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree under N.Y. P.L. § 265.12(1) or § 265.12(2), then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The skilled criminal defense attorneys in New York City at Greco Neyland, PC are experienced in defending charges of criminal sale of a firearm. We work with you at each stage of the case to mount an aggressive defense.

We serve clients throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Contact the dedicated lawyers at Greco Neyland, PC today by calling (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the charges pending against you.

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