As gun rights lawyers we try to keep the public updated on significant changes to New York gun laws. Several new laws are going into effect in New York and gun owners need to be aware.
First, a new gun storage law was passed which makes it a misdemeanor for a gun owner that lives with children under 16 to leave the gun unlocked. The measure amends penal law section 265.45 and leaving a gun unlocked when children live in the home is a class “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail. In addition, a new penal law section was added 265.50 which makes it a violation, punishable by 15 days in jail to leave a gun unlocked even if there are no children in the home.
Both of these safe storage laws are likely to be challenged and struck down because the United States Supreme Court has made it clear that the Second Amendment protects the right of a person to have a gun for self-defense. By requiring that guns in your home be locked, the government is specifically preventing you from having an accessible gun for self defense.
Another new law amends the penal law to add new crimes for the manufacture, sale and possession of so called “undetectable firearms” or “3D printed guns”. The Sale or Manufacture of these firearms is now a class “D” felony in New York and possession is a class “E” felony. The new law adds a definition of “undetectable firearms” and makes additional amendments to the Penal Law such as adding Penal Law sections 265.50 and 265.55. This law is redundant given that these guns are already illegal in all 50 states under federal law.
(And no, you are not reading that incorrectly. In their haste to make a mess out of the New York State Penal Law they added two Penal Law sec 265.50’s. One deals with safe storage and one deals with undetectable firearms. You cannot make this up.)
Governor Cuomo also signed into law a ban on bump stocks that had been banned under federal law in all 50 states since March. This ban could be problematic because it not only bans bump socks but all devices that alter the rate of fire of a firearm. This definition could include a whole group of devices such as after market “match grade triggers” and other devices that one might believe are completely legal.
Lastly, New York has extended the amount of time a person has to wait if they do not immediately pass the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS). If a person didn’t pass instantly, law enforcement was given 3 days (and still is in other states) to pass or fail the buyer. If no decision is made within 3 days the sale could proceed. Now, New York can deny ther person the right to purchase a firearm for up to 30 days without any reason before the sale can proceed.
The bottom line is that New York is at war with gun owners and is trying to do everything that they believe they can get away with in order to make it as difficult (and legally dangerous) to own a gun in New York. You must know the laws. Many laws related to gun possession and ownership are serious felonies with mandatory minimums in state prison if you make a mistake so it is important to double check and if necessary consult with a firearm’s rights attorney before doing anything that could potentially put you in jeopardy. .