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New York’s New Type of License – Semi Automatic Rifles

Among the new package of laws that were signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul was the requirement to obtain a license before purchasing or acquiring a new semiautomatic rifle (other than an “assault rifle“).  The intention seems to have been to prevent the purchase of rifles by 18, 19 and 20 year old individuals but the law does much more. Notwithstanding, that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California has already ruled a similar California ban on 18, 19 and 20 year old young adults is unconstitutional.   Under S.9458/A.10503 Article 400 of the Penal law was amended to create a new type of gun license called a license for a semiautomatic rifle.  Similar to licenses to carry pistols the new law says that a license to purchase a semiautomatic rifle obtained outside of New York City will not be valid inside of New York City unless a special permit giving validity is obtained from the New York City Police.

The new law does not make it a crime to own or possess guns which were acquired before the effective date.  Rather, the new law makes it a crime to purchase or obtain a new semiautomatic rifle without having the new type of license.  The new licenses appear to be issued by the same licensing officers using the same criteria as license for handguns and is almost certain to back up and slow down the already overwhelmed system for obtaining handgun licenses.  The new licenses require recertification every five years.

As New York Second Amendment Attorneys we are constantly monitoring upcoming gun legislation.  Following up on our blog the Twelve Most Ridiculous Gun laws, we just may have to revamp the whole list with some of the crazy new ideas that we have been hearing lately.  So lets look at a roundup of recent gun legislation and suggestions.

New York has recently passed some ridiculous gun laws recently criminalizing the possession of unfinished frames which can basically include an hunk of aluminum, plastic or polymer.  In addition, New York has made it a crime for a convicted felon to possess innocuous gun parts such as barrels or triggers.  Nothing that can fire; possession of just the parts is now a crime.

Today, I read that there is legislation pending in Albany to require licenses to possess or purchase a semi-automatic rifle.  Now remember, so called “assault rifles” are already banned in New York so this is for semi-automatic hunting rifles.  How many of these semi-automatic rifles are used in crimes in New York any year?  Keep in mind, that New York City already requires licensing of long guns and we can watch the news and see how that is going.

An arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be a serious charge with serious consequences in the event of a conviction. If an intoxicated driver also injures another person in an accident while driving under the influence, they may be charged with criminal assault as well as the DWI offense. Because of the serious implications that both DWI and violent crime charges can have on one’s record, it is important for people charged with such crimes to mount a strong legal defense from the start. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York recently addressed an appeal by a man who was convicted of DWI and assault charges after being involved in a head-on collision while allegedly intoxicated.

According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the defendant was arrested after he was involved in a crash where he crossed over a double yellow line and struck another vehicle, seriously injuring the occupants. After consenting to a blood test, the defendant was found to have a blood alcohol content in excess of the legal limit, and he was charged with DWI and assault offenses. The defendant attempted to suppress the results of the blood test, arguing that there was no warrant or probable cause for the officer to draw his blood. The appellate court rejected the defendant’s arguments, finding that he had consented to the blood draw and no warrant was needed. The defendant also appealed his conviction on other grounds, which were not addressed by the court because his trial counsel did not make the appropriate objections to preserve those arguments for appellate review.

Trial judges who make legal errors that violate the rights of defendants can be reversed by appellate courts if the proper procedures are followed. One requirement for a ruling to be reversed on appeal is that the ruling was objected to at the lower level. When a criminal defense attorney fails to properly object to an erroneous trial court decision, their client may not be able to get the appropriate relief, even on appeal. Rather, it is essential that a trial attorney “preserve” an issue for appeal by making a timely objection during the trial.  Because of this, it is essential for defendants to retain experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense counsel as early in the process as possible.

In a recent opinion from a New York court, the defendant in a child sexual assault case lost his appeal after he attempted to argue that the prosecution had behaved unfairly during his trial. The court disagreed, reviewing the prosecutor’s conduct and concluding that it was all acceptable. The defendant’s verdict was thus affirmed and he was sentenced to time in prison.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the victim, a child born in 2009, told another student on the bus to school that the defendant (her mother’s partner) was engaging in sexual conduct with her. Authorities soon learned of this alleged sexual assault, and the defendant was charged with predatory sexual assault against a child as well as attempted rape in the first degree. The County Court dismissed the defendant’s rape charge, but the prosecution proceeded with a jury trial to rule on the predatory sexual assault charge.

As a result of the trial, the defendant was convicted and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He subsequently appealed the jury’s verdict.

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It is currently rumored that Governor Andrew Cuomo will resign effective in two weeks.  While we have not been able to confirm this with any news source, we believe this to be the case.  To be sure Governor Cuomo has been no friend to law abiding gun owners.  The SAFE Act which was pushed through by Cuomo in an attempt to pass it without comment or opposition targeted law abiding gun owners including owners of modern sporting rifles, semi automatic rifles and made it more difficult for all gun owners to purchase ammunition.  Several of the main provisions of the Safe Act were either found to be unconstitutional or impossible to implement and are not being enforced.  These provisions include the 7 round magazine limit and the background checks to buy ammunition.

If it turns out that the rumor is true, Governor Cuomo will not be missed my gun owners.

As we wrote in our blog on March 12, 2021 Jerry from Jerry’s Firearms in Suffolk County was arrested.  At that time there was speculation about the charges and whether Jerry was arrested for selling “other” weapons that the Suffolk County Police decided violated New York’s Safe Act or whether Jerry was arrested for record keeping violations.  It now appears that the answer is both.

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Franklin Armory Other

In late May 2021 the Suffolk County Police began sending unsigned letters to purchasers who bought the Delta Level Defense CT4-2A, other firearm that demanded that the purchaser call the Suffolk County police to schedule an “inspection” of the gun.  Since May, at least one other round of letters has gone out.  The letter indicates that those who comply will not be arrested and rumors have been circulating that the Suffolk county Police have threatened those who took the guns out of state or modified them with arrest for tampering with evidence.  It has become clear that the Suffolk County police consider these firearms illegal and Jerry has been charged with a class “B” violent felony for selling 10 or more of these firearms.  He faces up to 25 years in prison.

New York Traffic lawyers have experienced first hand the empty roads and the opportunity to speed and we have seen a decrease in the number of calls from ticketed drivers.  Sadly, it appears that the proverbial party is over.  During the month of April, the number of traffic tickets issued has dropped from over 85,000 in April 2019 to just over 10,000 during April 2020.  Now, the New York State Police has asked that troopers return to normal traffic enforcement duties.  In a memo to State Troopers, from their Superiors, Troopers were told that the pause was necessary but that now due to increased awareness about the transmission of the COVID-19 Virus and the issuance of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to Troopers, the time has come to return to normal enforcement.

While the memo refers to an increase in aggressive drivers during the pandemic, New York traffic attorneys know how much revenue is raised by the issuance of traffic tickets and how much the State is surely losing in traffic ticket revenue during the pandemic.  The pause in enforcement was scheduled to end today May 1, 2020.

With approximately 90 New York State Troopers testing positive for the Covid-19 virus it may be hard to convince Troopers who may be reluctant to interact with the public if avoidable.  Although, apparently both the State Police and the Union have been distributing Personal Protective Equipment to Troopers, the level of enforcement will probably partly depend on the continued availability of PPE.  In addition Governor Cuomo has already announced that first responder and particularly State Troopers will receive priority for Covid-19 antibody testing.  Obviously, having ample testing available to law enforcement officers such as New York State Troopers may give them more comfort in performing their jobs.

A documentary produced by John Stossel about the experiences of two clients of Tilem & Associates who flew through New York airports, one with a gun and one with a firearm magazine clearly demonstrates the absurdity of New York gun laws and the real need for National Concealed Carry Reciprocity.  The video can be viewed here.

The video tells the story of Tricia Jordan who was with her daughter when she was attempting to fly out of Laguardia airport with a gun and was arrested for the class “C” violent felony of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree and of Avi Wolf who had a magazine with no firearm and no bullets but was arrested for the class “D” violent felony of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (yes, I know, he didn’t possess a weapon) because the magazine, even though it was empty, was capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Both, after hiring Tilem & Associates, pled guilty to a non-criminal disorderly conduct charge and paid a fine of $250.  Both had their records sealed.  However, the video shows what these law abiding citizens went through including spending a day in jail and having to hire a lawyer to defend them against these very serious charges.  The video also shows how misleading the TSA website and the airline website can be for travelers to New York who lawfully fly with their guns.

When a defendant is charged with a crime (such as Driving While Intoxicated or a Controlled Substances offense) based upon evidence found during a car stop, the first question an experienced defense attorney should ask is: “why was the car stopped?” If the stop was unconstitutional, any evidence found as a result of the stop should be suppressed.

While the police may conduct non-arbitrary, nondiscriminatory traffic checks at roadblocks, checkpoints and weigh stations pursuant to uniform procedures, an officer may not single out one particular vehicle and stop it for a routine traffic check to check the driver’s license and look for possible equipment violations. A single vehicle may only stopped where the officer has a reasonable suspicion that a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law has been committed. People v. Ingle, 36 N.Y.2d 413, 369 N.Y.S.2d 67 (1975).

In Ingle, the officer singled out the defendant’s vehicle from the stream of traffic solely because of its unusual appearance. The vehicle was an old vintage 1949 Ford. The Trooper decided to conduct a routine traffic stop. The Court held the stop illegal and suppressed drugs that were subsequently found in the car.

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