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Is it Legal to Store My Friend’s Firearm?

We understand that, sometimes, we are called upon to help our friends in ways we never anticipated. One such instance could be when a friend asks you to store their firearm. This might arise due to a variety of circumstances, from them being in the middle of a move, dealing with a personal crisis, or simply not having a secure place to store their weapon.

As a good friend, your immediate inclination may be to help. However, it's important to be aware of the legal implications of storing your friend's firearm before making any decisions.

Understanding Firearm Laws in New York

In New York, the laws surrounding firearm storage are strict and must be adhered to without exception. The state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and it's essential to understand these before considering storing a friend's firearm. Gun ownership, let alone storage, requires a permit, and the absence of one can lead to legal repercussions.

It's also important to note the following about firearm storage in New York:

  • Only the person with a legitimate permit can possess the firearm.
  • Storing another person's firearm can be considered unlawful possession.
  • If the firearm is used in any illegal activity, even unknowingly by the owner, the person storing the firearm can also be held liable.

What Options Are Available for Safe and Legal Firearm Storage During a Crisis?

If your friend is dealing with a crisis and needs to store their firearm, there are several legal options in New York. Firearm storage facilities are designed to securely store firearms for individuals temporarily and are in accordance with state laws. Make sure the storage facility has all the necessary licenses and follows all firearm regulations.

If your friend's situation is due to a domestic dispute or mental health crisis, they can turn their firearm over to law enforcement for temporary storage. This is especially true if they believe there's a possibility their firearm might be used unsafely. This ensures their firearm is in a secure location and can prevent potential incidents.

Lastly, your friend can consider transferring their firearm to a licensed gun dealer. The dealer will hold the firearm and can also facilitate a legal transfer of the firearm to a new owner if that is the end goal.

Here's a summary of these options:

  • Firearm storage facilities
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Licensed gun dealer

The goal should always be to ensure the safety of all parties involved while also adhering to New York's strict firearm laws.

What Are the Potential Consequences of Illegally Storing a Firearm?

The consequences of illegally storing a firearm in New York should not be taken lightly. As we've established, the state has stringent gun laws and violating them results in severe penalties. Unpermitted possession or storage of a firearm can lead to criminal charges, with punishments ranging from fines to jail time, depending on the specific circumstances and severity of the violation. Remember, ignorance of the law is not a valid defense, and the person storing the firearm may face legal repercussions just like the actual owner.

Furthermore, if the firearm stored illegally is used in the commission of a crime, the person who stored it may be held liable. This could potentially result in being charged with aiding and abetting a crime, potentially facing the same penalties as the person who committed the crime.

Here is a summary of the potential consequences:

  • Legal charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies
  • Fines
  • Imprisonment
  • Permanent criminal record
  • Loss of certain civil liberties such as voting rights or ability to hold public office

Beyond the legal consequences, the emotional implications of such a situation are substantial. Being implicated in a crime, enduring a trial, and potentially serving a sentence can lead to psychological stress, harm personal relationships, and negatively impact one's reputation. It is, therefore, crucial to exercise caution and educate oneself about the laws before deciding to store a friend's firearm.

What to Do If You are Accused of Illegal Possession of a Firearm?

If you find yourself accused of the illegal possession of a firearm, it's important to know your rights and the steps to take to handle this precarious situation. First and foremost, refrain from making any statements to law enforcement without an attorney present. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives you the right to remain silent, and it's in your best interest to utilize this right until you've consulted with a legal professional. Any statements can be potentially used against you in court, so it's crucial to avoid self-incrimination.

Next, seek legal counsel immediately. Contacting a lawyer who handles firearm offenses and criminal defense is vital. This professional will understand the intricacies of New York firearm laws and how to defend against charges of illegal possession. They can guide you through the legal process, advise you on your rights, and represent you in court. Remember, choosing the right attorney can make all the difference between a conviction and a dismissal.

Finally, gather as much information and evidence as you can to support your defense. This may include things like proof of your firearm permit, evidence of the gun's legal purchase, or correspondence indicating that the firearm was entrusted to you with the owner's knowledge. Your attorney can help you identify the relevant information that should be collected.

At Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC, our experienced team of attorneys is well-versed in New York firearm laws and can provide experienced legal representation if you are accused of illegally possessing a firearm.

Contact us online or call us at (516) 218-5131 to schedule a consultation and protect your rights.