Owners who legally possess firearms in their home state must be aware of a potential legal pitfall many unsuspecting visitors fall into upon traveling with their firearm to New York. Before bringing your licensed handgun to New York City by car or by plane, you should be aware of New York's restrictive gun laws which do not accommodate out-of-state permit holders. An out-of-town visitor to New York in possession of a licensed, loaded firearm - subject to a car stop in New York or a search at a New York airport - can trigger a felony arrest for Criminal Possession of a Weapon, which carries a mandatory, minimum state prison sentence under the New York Penal Law.
Possession of an unlicensed, unloaded firearm in New York can subject a person to a misdemeanor arrest carrying a maximum one-year prison sentence. Practically speaking, these mistakes, often made by otherwise law abiding out-of-state gun owners, can often be resolved in New York City with a plea bargain to a lesser offense. Unfortunately, these resolutions generally occur after the New York visitor spends a night in jail awaiting arraignment. Visitors to New York should not bring their firearms to New York unless they have the appropriate New York permits -- as an out of state permit will not receive reciprocity or credit in the Big Apple.