SPRINGVILLE — One of the hottest and most controversial topics over the past year has been the NY SAFE Act and on April 15, more aspects of that law will go into effect. All assault-style weapons must be registered with the state police, with the risk of a Class A misdemeanor and confiscation of the firearm if not done so. Those weapons must be reregistered every five years.
According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the NY SAFE Act website, “The SAFE Act prevents criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying guns, cracks down on illegal guns and bans only the most dangerous assault weapons. The SAFE Act protects law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms and does not restrict New Yorkers’ ability to buy, sell, keep or use their guns.”
In order to clear up confusion over how the law works, New York state Assemblyman David DiPietro, along with the Springville Field and Stream Club, will be hosting a meeting at the at the Joylan Theatre, located at 11 West Main St. in Springville on April 14 from 7-9 p.m.
It will feature a panel of individuals from many different areas, including DiPietro, Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, Legislator John Mills, Chairman of the Shooter’s Committee on Political Education Budd Schroeder, James Tresmond and representatives for Senators Patrick Gallian and Catharine Young.
“What we are trying to do is to provide information that is not being brought out about it,” said Larry Ciszak, a hunting trainer for the Springville Field and Stream. “We are not looking for a pro-gun rally; we are looking for information on how people can comply.”
When it comes to the SAFE Act, one of the biggest questions raised is what qualifies as an assault-style weapon. An assault weapon is a semi-automatic shotgun, rifle or pistol that has at least one prohibited feature, including folding stocks, adjustable stocks, second or pistol grip or flash suppressor. The only other option, if a gun owner does not want to register the weapon, is to permanently modifying the gun so it meets specifications. These assault style weapons are now illegal to sell in New York as of Jan. 15, 2013, but all assault weapons purchased before that date must be registered or modified, with risk of penalty.
What is legal when it comes to magazines and the amount of ammunition a person can carry is just as important as the gun itself. Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are illegal. Originally, gun owners were only allowed to carry up to seven rounds in a 10-round magazine, but that part of the SAFE Act was deemed unconstitutional and now up to 10 rounds can be carried in a magazine, at one time.
Another touchy issue with the SAFE Act is the requirement of background checks for both dealers and private sellers. The only except to this rule is if the sale or transfer of the gun is going to someone in their immediate families, which includes spouses, domestic partners, children and step-children. Failure of a background check can result in a Class A misdemeanor.
Not only do gun sales require background checks, ammunition sales also require background checks by the dealers and must be reported to the state. Ammunition purchased online must now be shipped to a licensed dealer for pickup.
Also, failure to report the loss or theft of a firearm or ammunition within 24 hours is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Failing to store guns properly in a gun safe or with trigger locks if someone living in a house has been convicted of a felony, has mental health issues or under protection is also considered a Class A misdemeanor.
With parts of the SAFE Act changing constantly and lawsuits still being filed against it, it is important for the public to stay current on what is legal and what is not, when it comes to their firearms.
There are still many specifics that are not as available to the public and this meeting and panel discussion is hoping to fix that, according to Ciszak.
“The lack of information on parts is definitely a concern,” he said. “We are also hoping to get information on where the lawsuits stand and we are counting on the attorneys to clarify that.”
For more information on the SAFE Act or to register a firearm, visit the New York State SAFE Act website.