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New York City Airport Gun Arrests

A NY Gun Crimes Lawyer Explains How NY Laws Send Innocent Gun-Owners to Jail

Gun Laws in AirportsMost people visiting New York City or passing through NY’s major airports- JFK and Laguardia- are unaware that they are stepping into a zone where one of their most important constitutional rights is suspended.  Far too many people only realize this too late when they find themselves facing felony charges, getting locked up in jail, and being shaken down by a local government that wants to steal their property and get away with it.

How can this happen in America? New York’s incredibly restrictive gun laws provide the answer. The gun laws that apply within New York are so extreme that even staunch gun control advocate and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was forced to acknowledge a potential problem as news stories repeatedly told of tourists having their lives destroyed because they dared to step foot in the Big Apple with a gun.

New York does not recognize permits or licenses from any of the other 49 states in the country. New York City does not even recognize pistol licenses granted by the state of New York unless the license is validated by New York City.  It is not only concealed-carry permit holders facing problems in NY though.  People who fly through the city’s major airports have found themselves arrested, despite complying with TSA and airline rules for transporting their weapons.  New York City has become a black hole where your guns, and your rights, disappear.

Bukh Law Firm, PLLC is here to help you fight against this deprivation of your rights.  We believe the Second Amendment matters and that people who intend to commit no crimes should not be forced to lose their weapons, pay large fines, and face a permanent criminal record.

Our attorneys will work hard to help you defend yourself if you are a victim of New York’s ruthless persecution of law-abiding gun owners.

New York Gun Control Laws Punish Law-Abiding Gun Owners

Lawful gun owners are allowed to travel with weapons. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states that travelers can transport unloaded firearms in checked baggage provided the guns are in a locked, hard-sided container. The container must be kept secured.

If you are flying into or out of a NY airport, or you are passing through, it is natural to assume you are in compliance with the law if you follow these federal regulations and if your weapon is legally owned in your home state.  This is why it can come as such a shock when you find yourself charged with a crime.   Far too many travelers have faced the following scenario:

  • They presented a firearm to a gate agent in order to check the weapon. The gun is licensed in their home state and securely contained in a locked container.
  • Police officers from the Port Authority of New York show up. They put the gun owner in handcuffs, sometimes in front of their families and children.
  • The gun owner is taken to jail. They must wait for a hearing, while locked up with other people who are facing felony In some cases, they stay in jail for more than a day as they wait for their hearing.
  • The gun owner goes before a judge and is shocked to discover that he or he is facing FELONY charges. Not only that, but the felony could carry a potential mandatory minimum sentence of 3.5 years in prison upon conviction.

A missed plane, a life put on hold, and a felony charge- even when you tried to follow the law.  The Queen’s District Attorney’s Office indicated this happened to 42 people flying into JFK or Laguardia over the course of 2012.  If this has happened to you, you need legal help now.

Understanding Gun Laws in New York City

People passing through airports are not the only ones affected by NY’s overly restrictive gun laws. Tourists traveling in the area who aren’t aware of the city’s restrictions could also find themselves facing arrest. In some cases, people who saw signs informing them of gun bans and who tried to turn their weapons over to law enforcement for safe keeping still found themselves arrested. In other situations, people were charged with having a gun in NY even if the weapon never left the hotel.

Those who are charged face very serious potential penalties. There are three primary state and city-specific laws that affect those visiting or traveling through NY:

These laws make it very difficult for even New Yorkers to obtain permits to own or carry weapons. The laws restrict the kinds of weapons that can be owned; the types of ammunition that a person can have; the number of bullets a magazine can hold; and a host of other aspects of gun ownership.  New York City’s laws are so restrictive that even people with self-protection licenses may not be allowed to bring a handgun into the city.

People traveling from other states are expected to know these laws.  The NYC Criminal Justice website indicates that it is the responsibility of travelers to be aware of the rules.  Unfortunately, many people who visit from states without these draconian laws may believe that it is enough to learn TSA rules.  In light of the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller affirming the Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual right to own firearms, many people may not even imagine that any location in the U.S. could have gun laws that would result in such unjust outcomes.

A simple mistake about what the law requires should not lead to felony charges, but because New York gun control laws don’t consider your intent, many upstanding citizens find themselves looking at the possibility of years of jail time.

Top Rated Criminal Lawyer

Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC


Penalties for Gun Crimes in NY

NY State Penal Law Article 265 imposes mandatory minimum penalties for criminal possession of a firearm. There are different degrees of this offense:

  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree: You can be charged with this Class A misdemeanor offense for possessing any firearm. (Section 265.01)
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree: You can be changed with this Class D felony for criminal possession of any firearm if you have any prior criminal convictions. You can also be charged with this offense if you possess a firearm silencer, a weapon adaptable for use as a machine gun, a machine gun, a disguised gun, an assault weapon, a large capacity ammunition feeding device, or three or more firearms (Section 265.02)
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree (Section 265.03): You can be charged with this Class C felony if you possess a machine gun; a loaded firearm; five or more firearms; or a disguised gun.
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree (Section 265.04): You can be charged with this Class B felony if you possess 10 or more firearms.

Second degree criminal possession of a weapon, one of the most common felony charges imposed on people who bring guns when traveling into NY, carries a minimum penalty of 3.5 years in prison with no past convictions and a maximum possible sentence of 15 years.

What to Expect if Charged with a NY Gun Crime

While New York prosecutors don’t necessarily end up putting tourists in jail for decades for having a gun, they also don’t allow visitors to simply admit their mistake and move on.

Many people who pass through the city and find themselves arrested end up pleading guilty to lesser offenses. This can result in fines, a criminal record, required community service, and the seizure and destruction of the guns.

Weapons that may have been passed down from generation to generation or that you may need to hunt for food for your family or defend yourself could be taken by New York bureaucrats and destroyed because you accidentally set foot in the state without knowing the strict rules.

Bukh Law Firm, PLLC will do everything possible to help you when you are facing this difficult legal situation.  We understand how much of a disruption to your life you are forced to experience if you unwittingly enter NY with a gun. We will work hard to resolve your case as quickly and effectively as possible with a not guilty verdict or with the minimum in penalties possible under the circumstances.

Call a NY Gun Crimes Lawyer Today

Bukh Law Firm, PLLC is here to help you. We work hard for gun owners who have been caught up in NY’s aggressive, futile, and perhaps unconstitutional, efforts to control guns. 

Give us a call to schedule a consultation.

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