Firearm Possession at New York Airports

New York does not have a statute that prohibits the possession of firearms at airports. A person can legally possess a firearm under NY Penal Law § 400 at an airport. Yet, those traveling to and from New York need to be extra careful with the various state gun laws.

Legal possession of a firearm in New York must be validated by a New York firearm license. An out-of-state visitor may be in possession of a firearm permit from their home state, but it will not be considered valid in New York. If that person does possess a New York firearm license, then he or she may be charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

There have been reported instances of individuals that legally own a firearm and are permitted to carry in his or her own state, who then face issues when traveling to New York. A person will check their firearm at the airport in his or her home state, and deplane without an issue. But, when that same person arrives at the New York airport and attempt to store his or her firearm, he or she can be arrested for criminal possession of a weapon.

These cases tend to be difficult to maneuver for defendants, as New York Law contains clear instruction on firearm possession. It is imperative for anyone accused of criminal possession of a firearm, hire an experienced New York criminal defense attorney to fight for the rights of law-abiding gun carriers.

Criminal Possession of a Weapon Attorney in Queens, New York

If you or someone you know has been arrested for criminal possession of a firearm at La Guardia Airport or JFK Airport, it is very important to find an attorney with experience relating to gun and weapons charges.

Rochelle Berliner has years of experience in the New York area, building up a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy attorney, who fights for the results her clients deserve. Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner represents clients in four New York City boroughs and counties; Queens County, Kings County, Bronx County, and New York County.

The difficulty of being arrested for criminal possession of a firearm in New York lies in the fact that a person usually attempted to follow the law. Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner knows this first-hand and attempts to guide their clients through the process as professionally as possible.

Call Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner today at 718-261-5600 to schedule a free consultation.



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Criminal Possession of a Weapon under New York Penal Law § 265.01

Under New York Statute § 265.01, a person may be found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when:

  • He or she possesses any firearm, dart gun, gravity knife, switchblade, gravity knife, pilum ballistic knife, cane sword, billy, bludgeon, blackjack, plastic knuckles, or any other weapon listed in § 265.01; or
  • He possesses a rifle, shotgun, antique firearm, black powder shotgun, any muzzle loading firearm, and has been convicted of a felony or serious offense; or
  • He possesses any dangerous or deadly weapon and is not a U.S. citizen; or
  • He is a person who has been certified not suitable to possess a rifle or shotgun, and refuses to yield possession of such rifle or shotgun upon the demand of a police officer;
  • He knowingly possess a bullet containing an explosive substance designed to detonate upon impact; or
  • He possesses any armor piercing ammunition with the intent to use the same unlawfully against another.

Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is punishable as a class A misdemeanor.


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Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon

Under NY Penal Law § 265.02, criminal possession of a weapon in the third-degree occurs when:

  • The defendant has been convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and has been previously convicted of any crime;
  • The defendant possesses any explosive or incendiary bomb, bombshell, firearm silencer, machine-gun or any other firearm or weapon simulating a machine-gun and which is adaptable for such use;
  • The defendant knowingly possess a machine-gun, firearm, rifle, or shotgun which has been defaced for the purpose of concealment or prevention of the detection of a crime misrepresenting the identity of such machine-gun, firearm, rifle, or shotgun;
  • The defendant possesses three or more firearms; or possesses a firearm and has been previously convicted of a felony or a class A misdemeanor within five years immediately preceding the offenses, and such possession did not take place in the defendant’s house or place of business;
  • The defendant knowingly possess any disguised gun;
  • The defendant possess an assault weapon;
  • The defendant posses a large capacity ammunition feeding device;
  • The defendant possess an unloaded firearm and also commits a drug trafficking felony; or
  • The defendant possesses an unloaded firearm and commits any violent offense.

Criminal possession of a weapon in the third-degree is a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison.


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Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree

NY Statute § 265.03 states that someone may be found guilty of criminal possession in the second degree if, with the intent to use the same unlawfully against another person, he or she:

  • possesses a machine-gun, loaded firearm, or disguised gun;
  • Is in possession of five or more firearms; or
  • Is in possession any loaded firearm.

Possession of a firearm is not criminal, however, if the possession takes place in a the alleged offender’s home or place of business.

Criminal possession in the second degree is a class C felony. Conviction of such can carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three and a half years or a maximum of 15 years.

Cases involving firearms at airports can be particularly severe when the defendant carries a firearm loaded with ammunition. Some gun owners often carry their firearms in a concealed manner on their person. These weapons are often loaded. Being in illegal possession of a loaded firearm in New York can be construed as criminal possession in the second degree.

In addition, even if the firearm is not physically loaded with ammunition, it can be considered a loaded weapon. If the gun owner has the ammunition, and the firearm could logically be loaded, than it can be considered a loaded firearm.


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Criminal Possession of Weapon First Degree

New York Statute § 265.04, criminal possession of a dangerous weapon in the first-degree, occurs when:

  • A person has possession of any explosive substance with the intent to unlawfully use against a person or property of another; or
  • A person possesses ten or more firearms.

Criminal possession of a dangerous weapon in the first-degree is a class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.


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People of the State of New York v. Tinsley

People v. Tinsley involves a Texas man named Thomas Tinsley, who upon visiting his daughter, attempted to board a flight back to Texas from MacArthur Airport in Islip, New York. While at the airport he attempted to check his bag for the flight. His possessions included a semi-automatic pistol.

While Tinsley did, in fact, possess a valid Texas license to carry a concealed weapon, law enforcement found that Tinsley did not have a New York State pistol license, and Tinsley was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

This case could have been avoided had necessary precautions been observed. Tinsley did not have an extensive criminal record and did possess a legal and valid Texas concealed weapon's license. The firearm was locked in a case, and though Tinsley told the airline about the weapon before boarding, he was charged with criminal possession of a firearm. The State negotiated a plea in absentia.

People v. Tinsley is representative of the issues involved with possessing a firearm at a New York Airport without a valid New York license to carry a firearm. Tinsley had legal firearm documentation for Texas, but those licenses are not recognized in New York.


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Additional Resources

New York State Law | Article 265 – This website offers readers an excellent and exhaustive resource containing every New York State Statute from Penal Law to Criminal Procedure Law.

New York Handgun Law – Visit the Handgun Laws website to read more about firearm rules and regulations specific to New York, including information for both native New Yorkers and visitors.


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Find an Attorney for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in Queens County, New York

Have you been arrested a New York City airport for possessing a firearm? It is imperative you contact an experienced New York criminal defense attorney to review your case.

Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner understands that sometimes innocent mistakes are made, and believes in fighting for their clients rights. Being in possession of a firearm at an airport in New York can be incredibly troublesome; New York does not take weapons cases lightly.

Even if you had no idea that you could not possess a firearm in an airport, it is important that you hire an experienced attorney.

If you have been arrested or charged with criminal possession of a weapon in Queens County, Kings County, New York County, or Bronx County, Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner can defend you.

Call Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner today at 718-261-5600 to schedule a consultation.


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Rochelle Berliner
Rochelle Berliner

Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...

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