The most recent addition in anti-gun bills that has passed here in the Empire State is the NY SAFE Act.
The SAFE act does many things and leaves much open to "interpretation" by Law Enforcement. Being that there is no definitive answers, parameters or standards to abide by that have been spelled out, and the state will not advise specifically what is acceptable, it as a result has left many people swinging in the wind wondering if their firearms are "legal" and seen as such by the state even after making a good honest attempt to comply with this massive blockbuster of a bill.
Reducing "high capacity" (normal capacity) pre-1994 mags to 10 or 7 round capacity
One of the largest grey areas is where the bill says you can keep and modify to low capacity your formerly NY legal high capacity pre 1994 magazines. We have asked many times what is "legal" or "permanent". Each attempt at getting a solid answer that we could move forward with to make NY-legal 7 or 10 round magazines, we have gotten different answers which were increasingly more difficult to abide by.
1st call we made - they simply read the bill to us.
2nd call we made - they said the magazine would need to be irreversible by common household tools
Next word we heard from a call in - they told the magazine need to be irreversible by anything
purchased at Home Depot
The 3rd call WE made - we were advised that as long as an "honest attempt to make permanent" that it would be sufficient, and that a WELD would certainly pass the muster as being a "permanent" mod.
At this point, I am not sure what is sufficient to keep within the letter of the law. Until we get real clarification from the State, I am very hesitant to move ahead and offer low capacity magazines to anyone unless we are VERY certain they will be found to be acceptable and be above and beyond what we believe standards to be, and show that it was a very real attempt to follow the SAFE act.
Stripped AR-15 Lowers and Complete Lowers - Semi auto? Automatically Evil...
The next area that is very nebulous, whether by design or so that people hang themselves is AR-15 lowers.
From what we have been told as many other FFLs have been advised by the state is that, ALL sales of AR-15 lowers including stripped, are now illegal within NY.
We asked and have been told that even if you wanted to buy a stripped AR-15 type lower to build it into a featureless build, or into a BOLT-ACTION rifle (such as the many bolt action AR-15 uppers available within the US on the market plus those on the market in England), all would be illegal and not permitted under the new SAFE Act.
How could they ban a simple receiver which in reality is an "other" on 4473s per the ATF? A stripped lower is a featureless item. It is not by design semi automatic, and automatically banned somehow. It should be perfectly legal to build them into a bolt action AR-15 or a featureless semi auto AR-15 type rifle.
Adding "Evil" Features to an "Assault Weapon" that already requires registration
We have heard conflicting information, both that even with a pre-1994 rifle you cannot change the configuration of it, nor could you add "evil" features to it beyond how it was configured as Gov Cuomo signed the bill into law. Rifles that were NY legal the second before he signed it into law, immediately after signing became "assault weapons" under the new Penal Code. Even though these firearms are now "restricted" and "banned" from sale within NY and require registration...we are told you CANNOT add features to them such as bayonet lugs, or folding stocks.
I have not found anything in the Penal Code that shows this, but again the law is the NYSP's interpretation of the law, not just the law as it is written. This is a very grey area right now and surely will be hashed out and cleared up by the end of April. If your gun was legal the second Gov Cuomo signed the bill into law, then it would still be ok to keep in that configuration, but you just cant modify it and do much anything with it short of repairs and replacement on it and the features it currently has.
7-round Limit on magazines after April
This is probably the worst part of the new "SAFE Act", and is a great reason to call it the "UN-SAFE Act". Limiting law abiding citizens to only 7 rounds in carry guns, but permitting them to keep their new "preban" 10 round mags purchased before the cut-off in April as long as they only load them to 7 unless at a NRA certified range. After April you will need to hunt for 7 round magazines, which simply DO NOT EXIST for most guns. This is a back door way to ban semi automatic handguns and most semi automatic rifles. Will the criminals only load 7 rounds into their stolen pistols that they will hold up gas stations with or rob your house with? I will go out on a limb and say it isnt going to happen. Criminals by definition DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW.
The scary part of the 7 round limit, and the worst part of the bill in my opinion is forcing people to use modified magazines that hold ONLY 7 rounds for self defense whether as a concealed carry piece if you have such a permit, or in defense of their family at home. Imagine a family of four at home, and crazy people on drugs break in to rob them or kill them for money. Those criminals have likely stolen or illegal guns that are not registered, along with high capacity magazines...while the law abiding citizen in his own home is stuck with a modified 7 round magazine for his or her firearm that is used to protect their family.
If that 7 round modified magazine was to jam the firearm in a moment of need such as this to save the family's lives, and resulted in the death of innocents, what would the state then say about this un-SAFE Act?
How can they advise to make modifications to magazines to keep them legal when they wont define what is acceptable? How can they limit peoples ability to defend themselves from pre1994 "high capacity mags" to just 10 rounders, then to just 7 round modified mags? This is dangerous and helps to put in danger more law abiding citizens and help criminals out gun them.
The rest of it... and other "evil assault weapons" you never knew you had
There is much more to the SAFE Act that is unknown... such as if you have a pistol with a threaded barrel that is now considered an evil assault weapon of mass destruction and doom, would you need to both register it on your permit with your county AND file paperwork to the state for an "assault weapon"? The state doesnt know and wont know likely until April from what ive been told.
That Walther P22 .22LR is now an "assault weapon" if it has a scary threaded barrel for a suppressor that is already illegal in our state for regular citizens without proper federal licenses and paperwork. Its all a moot point and pointless restriction.
That Ruger 10/22 with the colorful wood thumbhole stock you bought your son for his 18th birthday? That is now an assault weapon. Best hunt for 5 shot mags by Ruger too, as you cant sell or transfer the 10 shot magazines that are standard and come with the 10/22s.
Original USGI M1 Carbine with a 15 shot WWII magazine? You must register that M1 Carbine as an assault weapon if it has a barrel band for a bayonet lug on it AND register the 15 round magazine WITH the rifle at the same time. You cannot register the magazine by itself, nor can you register an original WWII M1 Carbine magazine with a new production M1 Carbine rifle.
I can only imagine that the next time there is a shooting, they will call and cry for the total ban of these "assault weapons" and reclassify even more to be "illegal". Likely they will go after shotguns, and then bolt action rifles with scopes as they are automatically unnecessary " military style sniper rifles".
If you thought the 1994 ban wasnt a big deal...I am sure you will find the SAFE Act to be a major hinderence if you are looking to get your pistol permit and have yet to buy a pistol as most dont have mags less than 10 rounds. Also all those hunting rifles you have had in your family for 30-50 years, many are now "assault weapons". You cant pass them down to your son or daughter, or even your own wife should you pass away. It would result in destruction or sale out of state by a FFL.
First they came for the machine guns and I said nothing...as I didnt have one
..next for the semi auto rifles with folding stocks and flash hiders and I said nothing as I didnt have any..
Then they came for the hunting rifles and sporting rifles that they redefined overnight as "assault weapons"...
No matter how involved in self defense, shooting sports, collectings, etc you may be. If you are at all involved in anything that pertains to the ownership, use or posession of firearms, you ARE impacted in a severe and negative way with the SAFE Act. Contact your local reps today by email, phone, etc. Participate in local rallies. Do what you can to get your voice heard.
If you have a story to share with what YOU were advised to be the new law, feel free to share it with me.
Also if you have any feedback or comments about this, also please feel free to contact me.
Note: None of the above is legal advice
, it is just bits of information I have been told and decided to share with my fellow New Yorkers. We need to discuss and figure out what is legal and not legal under this new law together. If we can, we need to push for the repeal of the Act in its entirety preferably.