Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in New York

Federal law and New York State law both prohibit an individual with a felony on their record from getting a permit to possess a firearm. Also, people in New York who are convicted of domestic violence crimes are prohibited from getting firearms. Possession of a firearm by a felon in New York is a serious crime with equally serious consequences. If an individual prohibited from using guns has been charged with a firearm offense, they should consult a skilled gun lawyer that could fight tirelessly for them.

Can Convicted Felons Legally Possess Firearms

If a person is a convicted felon, then by both federal and state law they are prohibited from possessing a gun or even getting a permit to possess a gun. There is an exception to that, however.

If a person applies to the Executive Clemency Bureau of New York State and receives what is called a Certificate of Relief From Disabilities, New York State may remove their prohibition from being a felon to allow them to legally own a gun again. Therefore, a person can be a felon because New York State does not expunge records and, a person convicted of a felony can still apply for specific relief from New York State, which would remove the prohibition against them lawfully getting a permit to possess firearms.

Penalty Enhancements

There is not much of a penalty enhancement for possession of a firearm by a felon in New York. The only enhancement would be that the person has already been convicted of a felony and now is in possession of a firearm, which is likely another felony. If a person who has a felony on their record is charged with a second felony, there can be sentencing enhancements that come into play as a matter of law, because a person is what is called a predicate felon, depending on when the last felony was.

Certain weapons charges in New York have a bump-up for certain crimes that were committed in the past. As an example, if a person has a felony for possession of a weapon and then is caught with a weapon again, then there can be a bump-up because they have already been convicted of that specific crime and did it again causing hat would usually be charges as a misdemeanor to rise to a felony level. There is no general provision if someone has a blanket felony and is charged with a gun; that is automatically a higher charge.

Mandatory Minimum for Felony Possession of a Firearm

There is no difference between a person illegally found with a gun who is a felon or not a felon unless that felony causes some sort of mandatory bump-up. If a person has an aggravated felony under the criminal possession of a weapon statute, then it is likely that if they are caught with a gun again, they are going to be charged with a high-enough charge that there will be a mandatory minimum jail sentence.

Usually, that means a jail time of a minimum of six months (or two years depending on where the charges are filed), and at up to five years of probation on a standard non-loaded gun possession class D felony charge in New York.  This will increase to a mandatory minimum of five years jail if the charge is a class B Felony.

Plea Deals and Penalties

If the person already has a felony record and is caught with a firearm illegally, depending on the charge, they are may be looking at those same minimums, but they will probably be offered a plea deal significantly higher, especially if their previous felony concerned weapons possession. In some situations where the previous conviction was for a felony gun charge, there may be a bump-up which would escalate a case that was not so serious and increase the charge to a higher level because the felon and was caught with a gun, causing aggravating circumstances, an increasing a mandatory minimum of two years on a class D felony to three and a half years because the charge is now a class C felony. IF an individual wants to know more about possession of a firearm by a felon in New York and what consequences they could expect to face, they should consult a qualified gun lawyer that could fight for them.