NY SAFE Act provision suspended

The New York State Assembly passed the latest budget on March 28, which also included a change to a controversial segment of the SAFE Act.

The addition to the budget, section 265. 37 of S2607D-2013, indefinitely suspends the 10-round magazine limit that would previously have taken effect April 15 under New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement of 2013 Act.

The limit, which would have forced gun owners to modify their weapons to contain a maximum of seven rounds, was removed in light of its impracticality, as gun manufacturers do not make seven round magazines.

The 10-round limit was lifted just days after protesters filled Syracuse’s Inner Harbor, rallying against the SAFE Act in a way similar to protests in Albany earlier this year.

In Oswego, County Legislator Terry Wilbur, R-Hannibal, authored a resolution asking the state legislature to repeal the law.

The resolution was unanimously approved, joining many similar resolutions across the state in Onondaga, Herkimer, Madison and other counties. Wilbur said their constituents were eager to pass the resolution.

“We’ve had quite a few individuals supporting us, 110% supported. That’s what we’ve heard from our constituents, that’s all we’re doing, the right thing,” Wilbur said.

“What we had in the SAFE Act is the law was impeding law-abiding citizens,” Wilbur said. “We do say there are good parts, the bad outweighs the good, some things like increased background checks on the mentally ill are good. But things like the 5 year license renewal are ludicrous.”

Wilbur’s statements echoed those of members of Fulton’s Pathfinder Fish & Game Club.

“All it does is take guns away from law-abiding citizens,” said Norm Nelson, former club president.

Nelson said that under the SAFE Act, gun owners who had legally purchased their equipment before the law would now be criminals if they failed to register the weapons.

Oswego County Legislator Terry Wilbur
What does the SAFE Act do?The official website for Governor Cuomo explains the specific effects for gun ownershunters, and gun dealers. The website also includes an interactive tool to determine if weapons now qualify as assault weapons, in addition to privacy exemption forms.The website explains, in greater detail how the SAFE Act will:

  • Require background checks on purchases of ammunition as well as weapons
  • Require background check for all sales, including secondary sales by private citizens
  • Make the failure to report a lost firearm within 24 hours a misdemeanor
  • Require pistol permit and assault weapon owners to renew licenses every five years
  • Ban the sale of any weapons newly defined as assault weapons within the state. Weapons purchased before the laws passing are exempt but require registration.
  • Increase sentences for gun crime
  • Require mental health workers to report gun owning patients they feel are an immediate threat.
  • Allow police to remove weapons from said mental health patients, and also seize weapons without warrants on anyone the officers have probable cause to believe is dangerously mentally ill or planning to commit a crime.

What is the SAFE Act?

The SAFE Act, in addition to magazine limits, background checks, and more, also tightens the regulations around designated assault weapons. Semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and pistols previously needed two specific attachments to be considered assault weapons, but only need one under the SAFE Act. Nelson said that by making these weapons illegal, it robs citizens the chance of being educated in their safe use, which is partly why the Pathfinder club was founded. “It’s important to have a healthy respect for guns,” said Jay Casson, another club member.

For more on what kinds of attachments change a weapon’s status into an assault weapon, see the gallery below. The slides are taken from the State of New York’s official SAFE Act website:

The SAFE Act was passed in early January, largely in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut last December. During the attack, 20 children and six adults were killed by Adam Lanza, 20, using his mother’s legally-owned semi-automatic rifle.

Since the massacre, gun control has become hotly debated across the country. New York was the first to pass legislation restricting firearms in the wake, and Connecticut just passed its own, stricter, legislation April 4.

After the attack, Slate Magazine began work on an interactive map cataloging every gun death in America. In the just over 100 days since the Sandy Hook shooting, Slate reports that, as of the time of this writing, 3,293 Americans have died from gun violence. Slate has gathered this data with the help of Twitter account @GunDeaths which attempts to catalog every gun death as it happens. The account collected numerous incidents in the Upstate New York region in the days since Sandy Hook.

[View the story “Gun deaths across New York” on Storify]