SAFE Act bullet limit on hold – for now
When the NY SAFE Act was passed early last year following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn., it contained a number of gun control measures, including expanding the list of banned “assault weapons” and putting a seven-round bullet limit on magazines. The “high-capacity” magazine cap was originally slated to go into effect on April 15 but was put in limbo mainly because manufacturers don’t produce seven-round magazines for many guns. Indeed, I was concerned because my Marlin 39A .22 caliber rifle holds more than seven rounds and that I would be in violation of the new law while plinking tin cans with my grandson.
Many law enforcement officials say there is no practical method of enforcing the seven-round bullet limit in those firearms designed to hold more. In fact, one court official called the provision “tenuous, strained and unsupported.” As a result, the New York State Police recently updated their SAFE Act field guide to instruct its members to not enforce a seven-round magazine limit that was part of the law. According to newspaper reports, this change cements a policy put in place by the state police after a federal court judge ruled the provision unconstitutional last year. The decision is being appealed. The federal court upheld most of the SAFE Act provisions but the court held that the section pertaining to "Unlawful Possession of Certain Ammunition Feeding Devices" was unconstitutional. Consequently, the updated field guide states: “As a result of the court’s decision, members are instructed not to enforce PL 265.37 at this time.”
The announcement is a minor victory for those pro-Second Amendment groups working to overturn the SAFE Act. In my opinion, the New York State Police have taken the same sensible path taken by the New York Sheriffs’ Association and many local law enforcement agencies in choosing not to enforce this portion of the poorly thought out SAFE Act. However, the wolf is still at the door. The SAFE Act has other provisions, such as the creation of a database for background checks on ammunition purchases and a statewide gun registry, and these provisions are still in the process of being put into operation. It looks like my fellow gun owners and pro Second Amendment activists still have a fight on our hands.