New York Penal Law § 265.45 – Failure to Safely Store Rifles, Shotguns, and Firearms in the First Degree
Failure to Safely Store Rifles, Shotguns, and Firearms in the First Degree is a law designed to punish those who fail to make the necessary efforts to safely secure their guns. Under N.Y. Penal Law § 265.45, the failure to safely store a gun is a Class A Misdemeanor.The Elements of Failure to Safely Store Rifles, Shotguns, and Firearms in the First Degree
Before you can be convicted of any crime, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Failure to Safely Store Rifles, Shotguns, and Firearms in the First Degree has two subsections, each of which prohibits certain actions:
- Leaving a firearm, shotgun or rifle outside the owner’s immediate possession without securing the gun if the owner lives with:
- Anyone under 18 years old; or
- Someone who is prohibited from possessing a firearm, shotgun or rifle.
- Leaving an unsecured firearm, shotgun or rifle in a vehicle in a vehicle while in plain sight.
In this context, securing a gun requires the owner to place the weapon in a safe or secure container that can only be opened by key or combination. The container must also be tamper-resistant, fire-resistant and impact-resistant.Examples of Failure to Safely Store Rifles, Shotguns, and Firearms in the First Degree
The following are examples of conduct that may violate § 265.45:
- A father of minor children leaves an unsecured gun in the nightstand next to his bed;
- A person living with a roommate who has a prior conviction for a violent crime keeps a loaded gun in the home; and
- A person leaves a handgun on the front passenger seat of their vehicle while they are shopping.
Often, prosecutors bring Failure to Safely Store Rifles, Shotguns, and Firearms in the First Degree charges along with one or more of the following:
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.02
- Unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.05
- Criminal possession of a weapon in a restricted location- N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-D
- Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-A
- Criminal possession of a rapid-fire modification device - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-C
There are several defenses to Failure to Safely Store Rifles, Shotguns, and Firearms in the First Degree that can either reduce your sentencing exposure or result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you or the jury returning a “not guilty” verdict. The most common defenses include the following:
- Police discovered the weapon after violating your constitutional rights;
- You did not know the person you were living with was prohibited from possessing a firearm;
- You made an honest, good-faith effort to secure the firearm; and
- You allowed a minor to possess a firearm on a shooting range or while hunting with a valid license or permit.
Failure to Safely Store Rifles, Shotguns, and Firearms in the First Degree is a Class A misdemeanor. In New York, Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.Discuss Your Case With an Experienced New York Gun Crimes Attorney
If you were recently arrested after police officers claimed you failed to secure a firearm, you may have a valid defense to the charges. However, you can’t expect prosecutors to give you the benefit of the doubt. At the law firm of Tilem & Associates, P.C., our dedicated NY criminal defense lawyers have helped countless clients get out from under the charges they face. We understand the best gun crimes defenses and how to effectively use them to ensure your case ends in the best result possible. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.