New York Penal Law § 400.10 – Report of Theft or Loss of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun
Under New York Penal Law § 400.10 (Report of Theft or Loss of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun), lawful gun owners must notify law enforcement within 24 hours if one of their handguns, rifles or shotguns gets lost or stolen. A gun owner’s failure to do so may subject them to criminal liability. Report of Theft or Loss of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun is a Class A misdemeanor.The Elements of Failure to Report the Theft or Loss of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun
Before anyone can be convicted of a crime, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Report of Theft or Loss of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun are:
- The defendant legally owned a firearm, shotgun or rifle;
- The defendant’s firearm, shotgun or rifle was lost or stolen;
- The defendant did not report the loss or theft of their gun to law enforcement within 24 hours of discovering the weapon was missing.
Notably, loss or theft of ammunition is not a reportable event under § 400.10 unless a weapon was also lost or stolen or the person who lost the ammunition was a firearms dealer or seller of ammunition.Examples of Failure to Report a Lost or Stolen Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun
The following scenarios could be a violation of § 400.10:
- You do not report a missing handgun within 24 hours of learning that someone broke into your home or vehicle and stole the handgun out of the glove box;
- Thinking you’d find your misplaced shotgun, you do not report the loss to law enforcement within 24 hours;
- You do not report a firearm as lost after you lent it to a friend or relative who did not return it and claims no knowledge of the gun’s whereabouts.
Often, prosecutors bring Report of Theft or Loss of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun charges along with one or more of the following:
- Criminal purchase of a weapon - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.17
- Criminal possession of a rapid-fire modification device - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-C
- Unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen - N.Y. Penal Law § 265.05
- Grand larceny of a firearm - N.Y. Penal Law § 155.30(7)
- Criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 165.45
- Falsely reporting an incident in the third degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 240.50
- Falsely reporting an incident in the second degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 240.55
There are several defenses that may apply in cases involving a gun owner’s failure to report a lost or stolen firearm. The most common defenses include the following:
- You were not aware that the firearm, rifle or shotgun was stolen;
- You made a good-faith and documented attempt to report the lost or stolen weapon; or
- You reasonably believed that the misplaced firearm would be found within 24 hours.
Notably, given the statutory language, it is more difficult for prosecutors to bring these charges in cases involving a lost firearm, rifle or shotgun, as the rightful owner may not necessarily know the exact moment the weapon was lost. However, this doesn’t prevent prosecutors from bringing these charges, especially in cases where a lost firearm was later used to commit a crime.What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 400.10?
Report of Theft or Loss of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.10 is a Class A misdemeanor. In New York, Class A misdemeanor offenses carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.Were You Charged with Failing to Report a Lost or Stolen Firearm?
If you were recently charged with a crime related to a failure to report a lost or stolen gun, you rightfully may feel that you are the victim and that the government is only adding insult to injury. However, you shouldn’t let that fact prevent you from taking the case seriously; otherwise, you may end up with a criminal conviction on your record. At the New York criminal defense law firm of Tilem & Associates, P.C., our dedicated lawyers have extensive hands-on experience helping good people get out from underneath serious criminal charges. 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.