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Understanding New York Penal Law 265.45

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New York’s gun laws are plentiful, complicated, and strict. Take New York Penal Code 265.45, for instance. This law makes it a class A misdemeanor to fail to safely store firearms. One step below a felony charge, a conviction for a class A misdemeanor can result in a sentence of up to a year in Rikers Island or another New York city or county jail. Whether the judge sentences you to jail time or not, you could still be saddled with a criminal record and face the loss of your job or occupational license, the payment of steep fines and court costs, and the thousand other repercussions of a criminal conviction. All of this for failing to store a gun in the manner required by the state legislature.

This post looks in particular at how PC 265.45 addresses gun storage requirements in motor vehicles. If you have been arrested and charged with a violation of PC 265.45 or other New York gun laws, or any misdemeanor or felony offense, the smartest move you can make is to call an experienced criminal law attorney before you do anything else. In the Hudson Valley, call Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen for immediate help from a team of dedicated and successful New York criminal defense lawyers.

Overview of New York Penal Code 265.45

New York Penal Code 265.45, a critical component of the state’s firearm regulations, mandates specific storage requirements for guns in motor vehicles. This law is designed to prevent unauthorized access to firearms, especially by minors, and to reduce the risk of gun-related accidents and thefts. Key provisions of the law include:

  1. Secure Storage Requirement: The law requires that when a firearm is not in the immediate possession or control of the owner (or another authorized person), it must be securely stored in a locked container. This container should be inaccessible to anyone other than the owner or authorized individuals.

  2. Location of Storage: The locked container must be placed within the motor vehicle in a manner that conceals it from plain view. It is recommended to use the trunk or a similar secure compartment, ensuring the firearm is not easily visible or accessible to passersby or unauthorized persons.

  3. Penalties for Non-Compliance: Failing to comply with these storage requirements can result in serious legal consequences. Violations of Penal Code 265.45 are treated with utmost seriousness, reflecting the state’s stringent stance on firearm safety.

Storage Law Grows Out of U.S. Supreme Court Decision on New York Concealed Carry Law

The gun storage law as we know it today was enacted in 2022 on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. In that case, the Court struck down a portion of New York’s concealed carry law which required gun owners to show “proper cause” in their application for a license to carry a concealed handgun outside of the home. Since the court’s ruling meant it would be easier for gun owners to take their guns with them, the state responded with a slate of strict new gun laws, including the current requirement applicable to gun storage in motor vehicles.

Implications for Gun Owners

For gun owners in New York, understanding and adhering to Penal Code 265.45 is crucial. Here are some implications and best practices:

  1. Legal Compliance: Always ensure that your firearm is stored in a locked container when left unattended in a vehicle. This is not just about following the law; it’s about fostering a culture of responsible gun ownership.

  2. Safety Measures: Apart from legal compliance, these measures significantly reduce the risk of theft, unauthorized use, and accidents involving firearms.

  3. Educating Others: If you are a gun owner, it’s important to educate your family and peers about the importance of safe gun storage, especially in vehicles.

The new law could create new risks in its attempt to minimize others. These strict storage requirements mean that a gun owner wishing to concealed carry in public (but not one of the myriad “specified sensitive locations” outlined in the law) will have to go back and forth locking and retrieving their firearm in the vehicle multiple times in one trip. This constant handling could increase the odds of an accidental discharge or alert others in public view of the location of a firearm, defeating the purpose of concealed carry and inviting theft. Nevertheless, it’s important to know the requirements of the law, abide by them, and seek help from a skilled criminal defense lawyer if arrested for an alleged violation.

Dedicated Legal Help With Firearms and Weapons Offenses and Other Criminal Charges in Goshen and Orange County

New York Penal Code 265.45 plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and security of both gun owners and the general public. By mandating specific storage conditions for firearms in motor vehicles, the law aims to prevent unauthorized access and promote responsible gun ownership. At the same time, it poses new risks to gun owners and exposure to criminal liability if they don’t fully understand the operation of the law. As a New York criminal defense law firm, we recognize the complexities surrounding gun laws and are committed to providing our clients with comprehensive legal guidance and zealous representation in and out of court.

If you’ve been arrested on gun charges or other offenses in Orange County or New York’s Hudson Valley, call the Goshen criminal defense lawyers of Dupée & Monroe at 845-294-8900 to discuss your options. Our team is dedicated to providing professional legal services to ensure your rights are protected and upheld.

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