Even though the right to bear arms is written into our Constitution, you still have to be careful when it comes to bringing a gun across state lines. This is because each state has its own rules for open and concealed carry and what it takes to get a permit or license.
New Yorkers – and those visiting – need to be especially careful, because gun license reciprocity isn’t recognized in the Empire State.
What Is Gun License Reciprocity?
If you want to bring a gun into a different state, one of the most important things to check is that state’s gun license reciprocity policies. Gun license reciprocity is an agreement between two states to honor each other’s gun permits or licenses.
For example, if you are from Texas, you are free to carry a gun in Arizona. An Arizona police officer can stop you and ask for your license, but you will be let go once you show that you are the legal owner of a Texas license to carry. The two states have full reciprocity.
This is not the case in New York.
Let’s go back to the above example. A Texas citizen does not have to worry about carrying a licensed gun in Arizona, but once they cross into New York State, they have to put it away.
Federal law allows gun owners to lawfully carry a gun over state borders as long as they do not have the intention to commit a crime with the gun, but your freedoms stop there. Don’t leave your gun in your car either – carrying a gun in a motor vehicle is prohibited unless you have a concealed carry permit.
Don’t be too upset, though. New York isn’t against people from other states, it’s just especially strict with gun owners. New York residents who have a license to carry can’t even bring their guns into New York City without facing criminal penalties.
The One Exception
There is one group of people who can use a gun in New York State, regardless of where that gun is licensed. If you are competing in an organized match held by the National Rifle Association or the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association, you will be able to use your gun, but only during the competition.
If you are traveling with the gun, make sure you have it in a locked, opaque container, and have documentation from the match, including the schedule and match registration card.
Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer: Penalties for Criminal Possession of a Weapon
If you are caught with a gun, you may face Criminal Possession of a Weapon charges. If this is your first offense, you’ll probably face Fourth Degree Criminal Possession. This means a class A misdemeanor. You will have to travel back to New York for a hearing, and you’ll still face a year in jail, but it could be much worse.
If, however, you have a criminal history, the gun was disguised, or you had three or more firearms on your person at once, the charges are increased. A Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon is a D violent felony in New York, and you may face up to seven years in prison.
If the gun was in your possession and you intended to use it on another person, or you fired the gun, penalties are even higher.
Charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon? Call a Brooklyn criminal lawyer today.