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December 5, 2012

New Federal Exemption To New York’s Gun Laws For Interstate Transit

By Michael H. Joseph

New York’s gun laws are some of the most restrictive and draconian in the Country. New York does not honor firearms permits issued by other states. In order to be licensed to possess a firearm in New York, you have to be a New York resident and get a New York firearm permit. In addition, New York City requires its own separate permit to carry within the five boroughs of New York City including the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

If you do not have a New York State gun permit, and are in New York State with a gun you can be charged with criminal possession of a weapon, even if you have a license or permit from another state. There is one exception, 18 USCS § 926A, (also knows as the “Safe Passage Act”) which permits the interstate transportation of firearms, provided that you can lawfully possess the gun in the state that you are coming from, and the state you are going to, and that NYS is only a state being passed through and is not a destination (final, overnight or otherwise). It may be permitted to stop briefly in NYS, but only for gas or food, not as a destination. The gun must be unloaded, separate from the ammo and in a locked container (other than the glove box or console).
The 18 USCS §926A states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter [18 USCS §§ 921 et seq.] from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry such firearm if, during such transportation the firearm is unloaded, and neither the firearm nor any ammunition being transported is readily accessible or is directly accessible from the passenger compartment of such transporting vehicle: Provided, That in the case of a vehicle without a compartment separate from the driver’s compartment the firearm or ammunition shall be contained in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”

This new rule pre-empts New York’s gun laws and provides an affirmative defense to any criminal charges under federal law.

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