Senior Partner Peter H. Tilem of the White Plains law firm, Tilem & Campbell recently passed the test to become an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor. Mr. Tilem, who is a senior criminal defense lawyer, NRA member and handles much of the firms firearms law practice together with law partner Peter Tilem, was an experienced and avid firearms enthusiast before passing the National Rifle Association’s instructors’ test.Besides being a lifelong shooter, Mr. Tilem has been handling gun and weapons cases for decades. Initially, as a prosecutor, in one of the most anti-gun counties, in one of the most anti-gun states in the United States, Mr. Tilem handled the prosecution of countless gun and knife cases as well as cases involving a variety of other weapons. After several years as a prosecutor, Mr. Tilem was asked to join the District Attorney’s Office’s Firearms Trafficking Unit where he handled large scale, gun trafficking conspiracy cases in addition to other gun cases and violent crimes and became an adviser to other prosecutors in the handling of gun cases.
After leaving the District Attorney’s Office and entering private practice, Mr. Tilem put his experience and knowledge of New York gun laws to work helping law-abiding citizens who got caught in the web of New York’s criminal justice system which treats law-abiding citizens with firearms (or knives) as criminals. In New York, a law abiding citizen who carries his (or her) pistol into New York with an out-of-state permit (ccw) faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 and 1/2 years in prison. In addition, New York still has on the books the functional equivalent of the since repealed Federal Assault Weapons ban which punishes as a felony possession of rifles or shotguns that have cosmetic features that are deemed to look offensive. The outdated and ill conceived assault weapon ban in New York is so poorly written and hard to understand that neither the police, prosecutors nor civilians can be sure of what is felonious conduct and what is perfectly legal.
In addition to New York’s bizarre gun laws, New York bans virtually any weapon imaginable including brass knuckles, billy clubs, “sand bag[s]” (whatever that means), wrist-brace type sling shots, nun-chucks and kung fu stars just to give some examples. As Mr. Tilem has written about extensively, New York’s ban on knives is so complete that it seems to ban steak knives in restaurants (at least in the five boroughs of New York City) and virtually any lock blade folding knife as a “gravity knife.”