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NY Penal Law § 265.05: Unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen

Of the 11 offenses in the New York Penal Code that make it illegal to possess firearms or other weapons, 3 are designed specifically to keep weapons away from minors. Under New York Penal Code § 265.05 it is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to possess the following:

  1. air-gun
  2. spring-gun
  3. any gun that can use loaded or blank cartridges
  4. loaded or blank cartridges
  5. ammunition
  6. any dangerous knife

A police officer observes a 15 year old boy holding a machete. The boy is arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen. However, in order for the prosecutor to prevail the prosecutor must prove that the knife described as a machete that the boy was holding was indeed a dangerous weapon and not more of a utilitarian utensil.

Related Offense
  1. Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds: New York Penal Code § 265.01-a
  2. Unlawful possession of a weapon upon school grounds: New York Penal Code § 265.06

In order to be convicted of unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen, the prosecutor must show that the object that you had is indeed a weapon as defined in the statute. For example, if you had a knife, the knife must be a dangerous knife. While some knives such as stilettos or daggers are without question dangerous knives, other knives such as butter knives are utilitarian utensils. If the object is not a dangerous knife, then the prosecutor would have no choice but to drop the charge.

Another defense is that you are in possession of a rifle or shotgun pursuant to a lawful hunting license or permit. If you are, then you cannot be prosecuted for unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen.


The consequences of being found to have committed the offense of unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen is that you will be adjudicated a juvenile delinquent.

New York Penal Code § 265.05: Unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen

It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of sixteen to possess any air-gun, spring-gun or other instrument or weapon in which the propelling force is a spring or air, or any gun or any instrument or weapon in or upon which any loaded or blank cartridges may be used, or any loaded or blank cartridges or ammunition therefor, or any dangerous knife; provided that the possession of rifle or shotgun or ammunition therefor by the holder of a hunting license or permit issued pursuant to article eleven of the environmental conservation law and used in accordance with said law shall not be governed by this section.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you or a loved one have been charged with a weapons offense, it is critical that you immediately contact an experienced attorney. There may be defenses that may result in the case against you being dropped or the charges reduced. In addition, there are also alternative sentencing programs that you can take advantage of. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with gun crimes, grand larceny, white collar crimes, and other serious crimes. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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