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A Minor Misdemeanor Can Cost You Your Gun Rights

The New York legislature recently passed a bill to expand the number of criminal offenses that can lead to loss of the offender's right to possess a firearm. According to those in support of the bill, the goal is to reduce the risk of future shootings by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders. However, critics of the bill argue that it targets much more than domestic violence offenders and includes many low-level misdemeanors.

Low-Level Offenses Added To The List

According to an article from the Olean Times Herald, under the new law, a conviction for the following class B misdemeanors will result in a gun ownership ban:

  • Third-degree menacing
  • Third-degree criminal tampering
  • First-degree harassment
  • Third-degree trespassing

The intent is that this will keep guns away from domestic violence offenders, as those offenders may escalate to greater violence. However, anyone charged with one of these crimes, including those charged outside of domestic violence allegations, are at risk of losing their right to own firearms.

To understanding how far reaching this new law is, it is helpful to understand what can lead to a charge like third-degree trespassing. A person can be charged with third-degree trespassing for stepping into another person's yard without permission, for example. If this person is then convicted, they will not be able to own a gun in the future. In the past, a conviction for third-degree trespassing would have likely only resulted in a fine and probation. 

With this bill, it has become even more important for gun owners to fight criminal charges, even minor ones, if they want to continue to be gun owners.

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