Senate Passes Tough Bill To Crack Down On Possession Of A Single Illegal Firearm

Martin J. Golden

June 23, 2006

The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), that would make it a felony, and require jail time, for possession of a single illegal loaded firearm.

"By elevating the penalty for the possession of an illegal firearm, and ensuring those found guilty face jail time instead of probation, this bill will help to eliminate illegal guns off of New York's streets," Senator Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), a former New York City Police Officer said. "When it comes to illegal guns, New York will no longer adhere to the three strikes and your out rule. One is enough. One is it all it takes to jeopardize the safety of all New Yorkers."

"This is a tough measure that will significantly crack down on illegal guns and build on the illegal weapons law we enacted last December," Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said. "By making possession of one illegal firearm equal jail time, we are sending a clear message that the people of New York will not tolerate violence perpetuated by illegal weapons."

Under current law, an individual must possess 3 or more illegal handguns to face felony charges. This bill (S.8467) makes possession of one illegal loaded handgun a class C felony.

According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 60 percent of the homicides that occur in the City of New York are committed with guns, many of which are illegal. The Department of Criminal Justice Services estimates there are 2 million unregistered handguns in New York City and that 96 percent of illegal guns recovered in New York City originated out-of-state.

Last December, a law was enacted toughening the state’s law against the criminal sale of illegal firearms and the possession of multiple illegal firearms.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.