New York Criminal Possession of a Firearm NY Penal Code § 265.01-b

In New York, a person can be charged with criminal possession of a firearm when he or she possesses a firearm without a valid license to carry a particular gun. In addition, New York City firearms laws are more stringent than the laws in other parts of the state. Criminal possession of a firearm is codified in NY Penal Code § 265.01-b which states: “A person is guilty of criminal possession of a firearm when he or she:

1. possesses any firearm or;

2. lawfully possesses a firearm prior to the effective date of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which added this section subject to the registration requirements of subdivision sixteen-a of section 400.00 of this chapter and knowingly fails to register such firearm pursuant to such subdivision.

This means that it is illegal to possess an unregistered firearm, or to be in possession of a firearm in a location where they are illegal. This is a strict liability crime which means that it does not matter whether or not you knew the firearm was illegal, or what your intent in possessing it was. If one is knowingly in possession of said firearm, one is considered guilty.

Elements of Possession of a Firearm

In order to be found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  •  on or about (date), in the county of (County), the defendant, possessed a firearm;
  • the defendant did so knowingly; and
  • the firearm was operable

Common Defenses

Because criminal possession of a firearm is a strict liability offense, defenses will generally hinge on the possession element of the crime. This is the typical “not my gun” defense. For example:

  • Demonstrating with evidence that the defendant did not have dominion and control over the area where a firearm was recovered from; or
  • Demonstrating a lack of evidence that the defendant had dominion and control over the area where a firearm was recovered from.


Criminal possession of a firearm is a Class E non-felony, and sentences range from probation, through 11/3 to 4 years in prison.

The Kushner Law Group is well positioned to defend and manage crisis situations pertaining to firearm possession investigations and prosecutions by taking a holistic approach from start to finish in order to mitigate damages to defending your rights. The Kushner Law Group is here to advise, protect and guide you in both State and Federal Courts. Call us now for a free consultation at (718) 504-1440.
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