Several provisions of New York’s much-contested SAFE Act will go into effect today, including requiring owners of “assault weapons” to begin registering their firearms along with new magazine limits.
According to the Associated Press, state police have planned to post forms for registration on their website starting Monday. Owners of firearms reclassified as assault weapons will have one year to register them, or they could sell them in another state. Magazine capacity will also be limited to seven rounds. Given that there are no major manufacturers who produce a magazine that holds only seven rounds, the law will require gun owners to only load seven rounds in a magazine designed for more.
Several gun owners groups are determined to bring the SAFE Act to court, including the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA), an affiliate of the National Rifle Association. Opponents of the SAFE Act hold that the law violates gun owners’ constitutional rights. The method that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo used to fast track the bill also became a popular point of dispute by critics. Citing a “message of necessity,” the governor bypassed a mandatory three-day aging period before the bill reached the general assembly.
Governor Cuomo brushes off the opposition as “extreme fringe conservatives,” and holds that the law will help decrease crime in the state.
“Yes, they are against it, but they are the extremists and the extremists shouldn’t win, especially on this issue when it is so important to the majority,” Cuomo said. “In politics, we have to be willing to take on the extremists, otherwise you will see paralysis.”
Cuomo and his supporters believe that the majority of the state approves of the SAFE Act, which was passed earlier in January. It was the first major gun control proposal to be passed after the Newtown tragedy and a landmark move for gun control advocates. Following in New York’s footsteps, other states like Colorado and Connecticut have moved forward with their own gun control legislation.
While awaiting the outcome of court rulings, gun owner associations are urging their members to obey the new laws.
“We are lawful and legal citizens of New York state and we always obey the law,” NYSRPA President Tom King said. “It’s as simple as that.”