Gun-Free Zones in New York

Gun offenses are taken seriously in New York. Firearms are often used in the commission of other crimes and can create an atmosphere of fear and danger in the community. That is why there are gun-free zones in New York. By prohibiting firearms in certain zones, the state can ensure the safety of its residents, which is why possession of firearms in gun zones is prosecuted seriously. If you have been charged with a gun offense while in a gun-free zone, speak with a qualified gun attorney that could advocate for you.

Examples of Designated Gun-Free Zones

There are certain areas that have been explicitly designated as gun-free zones. These areas include:

  • Schools
  • Certain places of worship
  • Government buildings
  • Courthouses
  • City Hall

The idea behind the gun-free zones in New York is that there is basically zero-tolerance. Even if a person has a permit or a license to carry, these are places that there is just no good reason to have a gun there, and the potential for damage done by a firearm is so great, that someone's right to carry is abrogated by the need to prevent guns from being used at those locations.

Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in a Gun-Free Zone

Unlawful possession of a firearm in a gun-free zone is an aggravating factor that can cause what is called a bump-up. If a person is normally charged with a crime that is a D-felony and there is an aggravating bump-up factor, that D-felony can become a C–felony, which carries harsher penalties and moves the mandatory minimum up, this behavior is considered especially egregious.

Penalties for Carrying a Gun in a Gun-Free Zone

Getting caught with a gun in one of the gun-free zones in New York is something that society has determined is worthy of a stricter penalty than just being caught illegally with a gun, just by virtue of the type of places which constitute gun-free zones.

There is no specific penalty for gun-free zone carrying, it has to do with the specific nature of the possession. If the possession was illegal anyway and in a gun-free zone, or if somebody had a permit and in a school in upstate New York where they are allowed to carry the gun if they have a carry permit, but at the school they are not allowed to carry, and were caught with a gun at the school anyway. They would also look into whether or not there was specific intent to use, i.e., did they take the gun to a courthouse with the intent to use it or did they forget that it was in their car when they drove onto courthouse property. The penalties are driven by the circumstances, but the fact of possession in a gun-free zone is an aggravating factor.

Advantages of Working with an Experienced New York Gun Lawyer

The main advantage to working with an experienced gun lawyer would be their ability to help you negotiate a deal. Most of those cases end in some sort of plea deal. Some do go to trial, but that is certainly not the norm. An aggressive attorney working on one of these cases will be able to find more mitigating factors than a passive attorney or somebody who is overworked or overburdened. If you want to know more about gun-free zones in New York and how you can avoid committing gun offenses, speak with a skilled gun lawyer that could answer your questions.