As a general rule, individuals are allowed to possess guns per the Second Amendment to the Constitution. However, there are scenarios in which a person is not allowed to own a weapon or allowed to be in possession of certain types of weapons. Let’s look at what the law has to say about your right to possess a gun and how an attorney can help with a gun possession charge.
You Generally Cannot Own Assault Weapons
Under the SAFE Act, New York residents are not allowed to own assault weapons except for those that they had before the ban went into effect. Furthermore, those in New York City will need to show that there is a need to carry a concealed weapon prior to obtaining a permit to do so. Other restrictions may apply in a gun possession case, and your attorney can advise you of your rights as the legal process unfolds.
What If You Brought a Gun From Outside of New York City?
If you plan to travel in New York City with your gun, make sure that it is not loaded. Otherwise, you could be charged with violating gun laws in Brooklyn and throughout New York City. If you have a permit for the weapon that was not issued in New York City, it may not be valid within the city itself. However, your attorney may use the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) as a defense to any charge you may face.
Guns Cannot Be Used While a Crime Is Committed
Even if you have a right to own a weapon, you don’t have the right to use it to break the law. This is true whether or not the gun was used to commit the crime in question. For example, pointing a gun at a driver prior to taking his or her vehicle could result in an extra charge. A gun possession charge could also be added in cases where the gun wasn’t removed from a holster or otherwise used to threaten a person. An attorney may be able to argue that you didn’t know that you had the gun or that there was no intent to use it to commit a crime.
What Are Some Potential Penalties for a Gun Possession Conviction?
There are many possible penalties that a person could face for a gun possession conviction. The severity of a sentence depends primarily on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. If the charge is a misdemeanor, you could face up to a year in prison and a fine of $1,000. If the charge is a felony, you could face up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Other penalties may include probation or community service.
Talk to an Attorney First
It is important that you talk with an attorney prior to making any statements to the police or other authorities. Legal counsel will advise you as to what to tell an officer or anyone else who asks for details in the case. If a question is out of line or could lead to self-incrimination, your attorney will be able to point that out. This can prevent you from acting against your interests and potentially damaging your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.
If you have been charged with gun possession, it is important that you have quality counsel representing your interests. Even if you don’t win your case entirely, a plea deal could help you avoid some or all of the most serious penalties associated with the charge. This may mean getting probation instead of jail time, which could make it easier to care for yourself and your loved ones during legal proceedings and after your case is resolved.