More New York State residents convicted of crimes may face the loss of gun ownership rights under a new law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in May. The law broadens the types of misdemeanors that are considered “serious” crimes that can result in the loss of gun rights and is aimed at individuals who committed a crime against a member of their family or household.
Whether someone is a family or household member is determined by examining whether the parties:
- Are married or were married previously
- Have a common child, regardless of whether previously married
- Have been or are in an intimate relationship with one another
- Are related by “consanguinity or affinity” – meaning that the individuals are descended from the same ancestor
None of the above methods require that the individuals in question live together currently or in the past. According to New York law, if a convicted individual committed the crime in question against someone meeting these definitions, the court is to inform the Division of Criminal Justice Services which is to work with the FBI to limit the person’s ability to purchase weapons. The convicted person is also required to surrender any weapons on record.
“The law includes shotguns and rifles in its definition of firearms that must be surrendered by a person convicted of one of these crimes, which are weapons that are normally not listed on any firearm database or registry,” said Peter Pullano, Rochester criminal defense attorney with the law firm of Tully Rinckey, PLLC. With the law requiring convicted individuals to surrender all weapons covered under the law, the failure of an individual to relinquish all of their weapons could result in even greater penalties.
The list of crimes that can result in this type of penalty is long and covers many types of offenses that can be viewed as threatening to members of one’s family or household. If you were convicted of one of these crimes, consulting an experienced attorney will help you make sure you do not run afoul of the law and expose yourself to additional criminal penalties for failure to turn over firearms as required. Remember, ignorance of the law is never a defense to prosecution – even if the law and its changes are new.