If you are charged with a New York gun or New York firearm offense it is imperative that your criminal defense attorney be completely familiar with the legal definitions of relevant terms. These definitions are found in New York Penal Law § 265.00. In this blog I will summarize several legal definitions applicable to Articles 265 and 400 of the New York State Penal Law. For more information visit our website.


Generally, a firearm silencer is anything that silences, lessens or muffles the sound of the firing of a revolver, gun, pistol or other firearm (for the exact definition of “firearm silencer” see NY Penal Law § 265.00(2).

FIREARM – PENAL LAW § 265.00(3)

Several guns fall under the New York State definition of “firearm”. A revolver or pistol, as well as a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length are all considered firearms for purposes of Articles 265 and 400 of the Penal Law. A rifle having one or more barrels less than 16 inches in length is also considered a firearm. Furthermore, any shotgun or rifle altered, modified or otherwise having a length less than 26 inches is considered a firearm as is an assault weapon. (For the exact definition of firearms see Penal Law § 265.00(3)). With regard to rifles and shotguns, the length of the barrel of a rifle or shotgun is the distance between the muzzle and the face of the bolt, breech, or breechlock when closed and when the rifle or shotgun is cocked. With regard to an altered or modified shotgun or rifle, the overall length of such a firearm is the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon. (See Penal Law § 265.00(3)). Finally, an antique firearm in not included in the definition of a firearm.

Several of the terms used in the definition of firearm are themselves individually defined in Penal Law § 265.00. For example, “Rifle”, “Shotgun”, “Antique firearm”, and “Assault weapon” are separately defined and therefore a review and understanding of these terms is imperative to a full understanding of the term “firearm”. In future blogs I will discuss these term in more detail.

If you or a loved one has been charged with any firearm or weapons offense, put the experience of a former firearms trafficking prosecutor to work for you. Feel free to call 1-888-ANY-CRIME for a free telephone consultation or visit or

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