New York Penal Law Section 265 makes it illegal to transfer or intend to transfer a firearm without authorization. Only licensed gun dealers who abide by strict rules can sell or transfer guns. Federal laws also restrict who can and cannot buy and sell guns. Likewise, it is illegal to manufacture or transport a high-capacity firearm.
Weapons trafficking is a serious felony. If you are aware that you are under investigation, or if you already have been indicted or arrested, it is imperative that you contact a qualified criminal defense attorney right away. The Blanch Law firm has a team of attorneys, including former prosecutors, who tackle complex, high-stakes defenses. We vigorously investigate, negotiate and argue in court to make certain you obtain the best possible outcome.
New York’s weapons trafficking law has several categories. Criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree is when an unauthorized person:
- Sells, exchanges, gives or disposes of a firearm or large capacity ammunition feeding device to another person
- Possesses a firearm with the intent to sell it
Criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree occurs when a person:
- Unlawfully sells, exchanges, gives or disposes of to another five or more firearms
- Does so with a total of five or more firearms within one year
Criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree occurs when a person:
- Unlawfully sells, exchanges, gives or disposes of 10 or more firearms
- Does so with a total of 10 or more firearms within one year
The law also covers criminal sale of a firearm with the aid of a minor under age 16. It also is illegal to manufacture or transport a machine gun, assault weapon, large-capacity ammunition feeding device or to transport more than five firearms.
Trafficking can involve new firearms or second-hand firearms that were stolen or illegally purchased. The crime can range from selling or transferring a single gun on the street to selling multiple weapons to one or more buyers. A common scheme involves using straw purchasers to obtain weapons from legitimate sellers.
- Criminal possession of a weapon
- Criminal use of a firearm
- Conspiracy charges: typically accompany illegal firearms sale charges
As with most crimes, the more severe the charge, the more severe the punishment. Additionally, any prior convictions will required an increased sentence from the court.
- Criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree is a class D felony punishable by 2 to 7 years in prison.
- Criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree is a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
- Criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree is a class B felony punishable by 5 to 25 years in prison.
- Manufacturing or transporting assault weapons or high-capacity devices is a class D felony.
The best strategies for defending weapons trafficking charges are to demonstrate that you did not possess or transfer the weapon, that your possession was legal, or that you were misidentified. Our attorneys also have several strategies for having charges and sentences reduced. A phone call is all it takes to see how we can help.
Federal law makes it illegal for certain people, such as convicted felons and the mentally infirm, to purchase or possess firearms. It also is prohibited under federal law to transfer a firearm to a person in a prohibited category.
In April 2013, Javon Burgess and Paul Lee were indicted in Manhattan for selling 39 illegal guns, ammunition, and large-capacity magazines to undercover police detectives posing as gun dealers. Some of the sales allegedly took place in broad daylight near the Bronx Zoo entrance. They face multiple counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the first, second, and third degrees, criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degrees, and conspiracy in the fourth degree.