While it is legal to sell firearms in the United States and New York City in particular, you must be licensed to do so. This ensures that weapons that are bought and sold can be tracked and that those who purchase weapons can be vetted before the sale happens. What are some other reasons why unlicensed sale of firearms is prohibited in New York City?
Unlicensed Sales May Result in Felons Getting Guns
Those who have been convicted of a felony are not supposed to buy or possess a weapon. In many cases, people get around this rule by engaging in a straw purchase. In such a scenario, another person who can pass a background check buys the gun and sells it to the person who couldn’t pass the background check. It also creates situations where gun traffickers will buy guns from unlicensed sellers and then sell them to felons or others in the black market.
You Can Still Engage in Private Sales
New York state law allows you to sell guns as a private seller at gun shows or at a garage sale. However, the purchaser must still pass a background check and conform to all other requirements that a buyer would be subject to when buying from a gun shop or other licensed seller. Failure to conduct a background check prior to a sale could be considered a misdemeanor offense.
A Variety of Weapons are Banned in the City and State
The SAFE Act has made it illegal to buy, sell or possess a variety of weapons as well as certain magazines and other ammunition. If you are caught selling a banned weapon, you could face multiple charges including selling a weapon without a license. All together, these charges could be treated as felonies, which means that you are going to spend many years in prison and possibly pay a fine.
It May Be Worthwhile to Contact an Attorney
Your best chance of staying out of prison is to talk to an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to craft a defense to the charge or make it easier to negotiate a plea. This is especially true in cases where the evidence against you may be circumstantial or otherwise hard to prove. In some cases, a plea may let you off with a warning or probation instead of jail.
You may also avoid a fine or avoid losing your ability to buy or sell weapons. Remember, a conviction on a felony charge generally restricts your ability to own weapons or may limit how you may use them. If you are traveling to or through New York City, an attorney may be able to use federal law to protect you in the event that you bring weapons that are illegal in the city but legal elsewhere in the country.
If you are charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to seek legal help immediately. You are under no obligation to talk with police or anyone else until your lawyer is present. Anything that you say or do could be used against you, which means you could unwittingly incriminate yourself or help the prosecution without even knowing it. Therefore, having legal counsel by your side may make it more likely that your case is resolved in a fair and favorable manner.