As I’m sure you’ve read, the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE, isn’t that adorable?) was passed by both houses of the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Cuomo this week. From the Buffalo News article, here are the highlights:
Assault weapons: Expands current ban on semiautomatic rifles.
Grandfather clause: Current owners may keep assault weapons but must register them for state database.
Private sales: Current owners cannot sell or give assault weapons in New York but may sell them out of state.
Background checks: Private gun buyers must undergo federal background check.
Ammunition: Magazines restricted to seven bullets, down from the present maximum of 10.
Mental health: Care professionals are required to report to authorities any of their patients who may pose a danger to themselves or to others; weapons may be seized from such people.
Tracking of sales: Real-time tracking for large purchases of ammunition.
Crimes: Stronger penalties for offenses committed with firearms.
Schools: Additional money for school safety.
The parts that are getting the most publicity, of course, are the restricted magazine sizes and the ban on semiautomatic rifles that have one or more “assault weapon” features (such as a collapsing stock or a flash suppressor).
I like some of this. The mental health reporting and expanded background checks make sense. But outlawing magazines or weapons seems silly to me; these types of weapons are used in a very small percentage of crimes, and this seems more likely to inconvenience legitimate users than anything else. It’s a silly, knee-jerk law that was pushed into service so Governor Cuomo could point at it when he starts his Presidential run in a couple of years and claim that he’s tough on crime.