Although there are particular exceptions (such as hunting and self-defense), for the most part it is illegal to discharge a firearm in public in the state of New York. Again, there are times when this is not illegal such as for target practice, but those exceptions are very well laid out and clear to most people.
The Department of Environmental Conservation of New York has a helpful answer as to the question of how far away from a building a person must be to legally discharge a firearm under the specifically laid out times when it is permitted. The answer turns out to be that the person must be at least 500 feet from a building before they are allowed to discharge that firearm (this includes private property). That is an important consideration to keep in mind before ever firing the shot.
People who get tied up in this legal situation often find themselves in this place as a result of the fact that they have done what is known as a reckless discharge. This means firing off a gun in an area in which other human beings or animals could be harmed. It might come as no surprise to you that this type of thing happens frequently with fourth of July or birthday celebrations. It is also particularly common when a person is under the influence of alcohol.
What Are The Penalties?
For this crime there is a wide range of potential penalties that one could face. This is because the crime can have a lot of different potential levels of severity. The drunk individual who fires off his weapon into the air on his own property during the Fourth of July probably does not pose as much of a risk as someone who fires into a crowded area in public.
The jail time that one might face are largely dependent upon the severity of the action taken, but also the location of that action. In some rural areas in particular the charges may not be seen as all that serious. There are fewer people who could have been potential victims, and that brings some to the conclusion that the crime was not as serious. There may be no jail time attached at all. However, for a more serious offense or for a repeat offender, the jail time could reach up to five years.
Fines are the most common form of punishment for this particular offense. It is just easier to assess someone a fine and have them pay a little money for what they have done. For most individuals this is punishment enough to keep them from making the same mistake a second time. They pay anywhere from fifty to one-thousand dollars for the mistake that they made, and that is the end of it. In extreme cases, the fine could reach as high as ten-thousand dollars.
Obtain An Attorney For This Charge
You can view your rights to own a gun in New York State from the National Riffle Association to see if you have truly done something wrong. However, that may not be enough to keep a prosecutor who smells blood in the water from coming after you. The only surefire way to keep your rights protected in these situations is to get an attorney.
You will want an attorney who knows the gun laws inside and out. It might even be helpful to look for an attorney who is a gun owner and advocate himself. At least then you will know that he takes this issue as seriously as you do. That attorney can help you navigate through a sometimes frustrating court system. They can make sure that you are not paying any penalties that you should not have to. Most of all, they are your advocate against those who might want to come after you and your rights.