Gun Control Laws and DWI Offenders
New York City requires residents to have a gun permit to own a handgun legally, but the law is administered so stringently that virtually no residents of New York City other than retired police officers are able to get a permit.
It costs $431.50 just to apply for a handgun license (including fingerprinting charges), the fees are non-refundable, and the odds are stacked heavily against the application being approved. Many applications for gun licenses in New York are not approved. Applicants may be denied if they have a moving violation in their driving history, fail to get fingerprinted or fail to provide all the paperwork and documentation required for their application. The application must include two color photographs of specified size, a birth certificate, an original social security card, proof of current address, a letter of necessity, and for some applicants, copies of the applicant’s business sales tax report, a personal income tax return, daily bank deposit slips, and a variety of bank statements.
DWI offenders should be aware that if they want to purchase a gun in New York, they will be required to undergo an instant background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) prior to leaving the gun dealership, as required by 18 U.S.C. § 922(t).
The Brady Act
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Brady Act), 18 U.S.C. 44 §§ 921-922, which became effective on February 28, 1994, is the most significant piece of federal firearms control legislation passed since the Gun Control Act of 1968. The law’s central gun control mechanism is an instant background check on persons seeking to purchase guns of any kind, not just handguns, from Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs). Under the Brady Act, FFL’s are required to check with law enforcement authorities to see if the prospective buyer is disqualified under federal law from buying a gun, particularly if the buyer had previously been convicted of a felony. The law does not, however, impose background checks on prospective gun buyers seeking guns from private sources.
New York Gun Control Laws
In New York, it is illegal to possess a handgun without a license. Under New York Penal Law § 400.00(1)(c), those persons convicted of DWI offenses are generally not allowed to obtain a handgun license. This law explicitly states that “no license shall be issued or renewed except for an applicant who has not been convicted anywhere of a felony or a serious offense . . . ” Under federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), persons with felony convictions are prohibited from possessing firearms.
New York state law also requires applicants to be “of good moral character” in order to obtain a gun license. This moral character requirement is codified in New York Penal Law § 400.00(1)(b). Grounds for denying someone a license based on lack of good moral character to include “a poor driving history,” and “multiple driver license suspensions.” If a person has a DWI arrest, a DWI conviction or has committed multiple traffic violations, they may not be able to get a gun license in New York because they may not meet the requisite standards of having a good moral character.
Recent New York Gun Control Legislation
According to a report by US News on NBC News.com, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act in January. This law will give New York State the strictest gun laws in the nation. The new legislation is aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people with felony convictions and mentally ill people who might be dangerous. The new law also bans high capacity magazines and assault weapons. and requires that gun sellers run instant background checks on all ammunition purchases at the time of sale. The new legislation requires everyone with a handgun license in New York to recertify every five years through their county of residence so that the state can establish an electronic gun license database that may be run against other databases containing the names of people who will be disqualified from possessing firearms, including those with criminal convictions for offenses such as DWI.
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DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for The DWI GUYS are located at 231 Walton Street, Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: 1-800-DWI-TEAM. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.