New York State has elevated the penalty for anyone illegally possessing a loaded firearm.
If you are caught possessing an illegally loaded firearm, you will face a minimum of 3 ½ and a maximum of fifteen years in state prison. The crime of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, which is the legal statute for possessing an illegal loaded gun, has been elevated from a class “D” Felony to a class “C” Felony. In addition to elevating the penalty for possession of an illegal firearm, those found guilty will face certain prison time, with the possibility of probation no longer an option in the higher felony.
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore vigorously supports the tougher penalties, “Illegal handguns are a catalyst for violence and death. The lives of far too many people for far too long have been damaged by gun violence. In elevating the penalty for carrying an illegal loaded handgun to a minimum of three and a half years, the message couldn’t be plainer: this behavior will not be tolerated and if you chose to disregard the law, you will be held strictly accountable.”
The Westchester County District Attorney's Office has developed an outreach campaign targeting at risk groups and communities to alert them of the new law and its penalties.
Called “Easy Choice or Hard Time”, it consists of a poster and palm cards in English and a poster and palm cards in Spanish, being distributed at various locations throughout Westchester County including schools, community centers and churches. Additionally, inmates that are released on probation or parole from the Westchester County Jail and the Valley Cottage Juvenile home will be alerted to the new law.