New York’s weapons laws are among the most restrictive in the nation. Although repeatedly challenged, the state’s courts have typically upheld these laws because the Constitution of New York does not explicitly state that residents have the right to keep and bear arms. Carrying a concealed weapon (in most cases a firearm) without a permit is a serious offense in the state. The restrictive laws also apply to deadly weapons, such as some types of knives, explosives, and stun guns.
Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is a class A misdemeanor in New York. Penalties include up to 1 year in jail, three years probation, and a fine of up to $1,000. Anyone arrested for carrying a concealed weapon (in particular, a firearm) can also potentially be charged with criminal possession of a firearm in the second, third, or fourth degree and face anywhere between 1 and 15 years in prison.
If you have been charged with illegally carrying a concealed weapon in New York contact a criminal defense attorney immediately, especially if you are from another state and arrested for carrying a concealed weapon that is licensed where you live. New York does not recognize concealed weapons permits from other states, and the potential penalties for an unintentional violation can be severe.
The right to own and bear arms is a federally protected right, but conditions do apply, especially when it comes to concealed weapons. Federal law prohibits anyone from carrying a firearm on school grounds, on certain federal lands, and inside federal buildings. Like New York, federal law prohibits convicted felons and people who have been declared “mentally defective” from possessing a firearm in any capacity. But compared to federal statutes, New York’s laws are extremely restrictive and make concealed weapons permits difficult to obtain.
Defenses to criminal charges for carrying a concealed weapon include failure to prove that the person actually possessed the weapon; an illegal stop, detention or seizure, and the failure of the item seized to meet New York’s definition of a weapon.
On April 24, 2014, two members of the Whoadey street gang pleaded guilty for their role in a recent campaign of street violence in East Harlem. Gabriel Shelton, 19, was convicted of one count of Conspiracy in the Second Degree (to Commit the Crime of Murder in the Second Degree) and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. Sean Terrell Jr., also 19, was convicted of one count each of Conspiracy in the Second Degree (to Commit the Crime of Murder in the Second Degree), and Attempted Murder in the Second Degree. 62 members of rival street gangs, including Whoadey, were responsible for 3 murders and over 30 shootings in East Harlem, as well as assaults, firearms possession, and gun trafficking. All were indicated and have pleaded guilty to their crimes.