Caution is Urged on News Reports Relative to NY SAFE Act

Orchid Advisors is issuing an alert to urge caution relative to varying news reports indicating that the NY SAFE Act gun magazine bullet limit is “suspended” or is “ordered with legislative approval” to be suspended prior to the April 15 implementation date.  News reports started circulating on Wednesday, March 20, which are largely repetitive, and without any primary source link.  Neither Governor Andrew Cuomo’s website, nor NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s website contain any formal announcements.  

Credit goes out to the Syracuse Post Standard for making available to the public the MP3 audio file of Governor Cuomo’s press conference conducted on March 20, 2013, which was to be about state budget negotiations.  The first 17 minutes of the press conference was dominated by media questions on the seven bullet per magazine limit passed on January 15, 2013 as part of the NY SAFE Act.

The questions and answers primarily surrounded anticipated revisions to the law that will specifically apply to those using 10 bullets in a 10-bullet magazine when shooting at a range or in sporting competition.  Approximately five minutes into the audio file, Gov. Cuomo says, “Clarification on that is you can have a magazine that can hold 10 bullets but you can only have seven bullets in the magazine unless you’re at the range or you’re in competition.”

Approximately 14 minutes into the audio file, a volley of questions started about the “large capacity ammunition feeding device” definition, which includes language prohibiting a magazine which can be “readily restored or converted to accept more than seven founds of ammunition” at Penal Law section 265.00(23).  The questions were not clean and the Governor’s responses less so, including his remark, “You can have a ten round magazine.  No, you don’t need to alter it.  You can have a magazine that holds ten and you can use ten at a range or at a competition.”

As with anything that is said by a politician, our focus needs to remain upon law that is either in full force and effect or that is passed and has a scheduled effective date for implementation.  Until and unless a formal procedure is undertaken in Albany to amend Penal Law section 265.00(23), the definition of the “large capacity ammunition feeding device” stands as it is written.  The prudent approach is to await the opportunity to review any primary source document when it is released.  Caution is urged as to relying upon politician statements at press conferences or media coverage – neither of which constitutes a defense in a court of law.