NY SAFE Act
|NY SAFE Act|
|New York State Legislation|
|Full name||New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act|
|Signed into law||January 15, 2013|
|Associated bills||Gun Legislation Bill|
The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 commonly known as the NY SAFE Act is a gun control law in the state of New York. The law was passed by the New York State Legislature on January 15, 2013, and was signed into law by Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo on the same day.
The legislation was written in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. It was sponsored by State Senator Martin Golden. It passed the New York State Senate on Monday, January 14, and the State Assembly on Tuesday, January 15. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law half an hour after it passed the legislature. Cuomo described the law as the "toughest" gun control law in the United States.
The NY SAFE Act contains a number of firearms regulations, and a severability provision, in case the broad prohibitions against weapons are invalidated by the courts.
- Bans possession of any "high-capacity magazines" regardless of when they were made or sold. The maximum capacity for a detachable magazine is reduced from ten rounds to seven. Magazines owned before passage of the SAFE Act able to hold seven to ten rounds can be possessed, but cannot be loaded with more than seven rounds. .22 caliber tubular magazines are exempt from this limit. Previously legal "pre-1994-ban" magazines with a capacity of 30 rounds are not exempt, and must be sold within one year to an out-of-state resident or turned into local authorities. The magazine limit took effect April 15, 2013. Ten round magazines can still be fully loaded at firing ranges or in shooting competitions. In March 2013, the magazine limit provision was scaled back, allowing ten round magazines to continue to be sold, but still only loaded with seven rounds outside of ranges and competitions.
- Ammunition dealers are required to do background checks, similar to those for gun buyers. Dealers are required to report all sales, including amounts, to the state. Internet sales of ammunition are allowed, but the ammunition will have to be shipped to a licensed dealer in New York state for pickup. Ammunition background checks will begin January 15, 2014.
- Requires creation of a registry of assault weapons. Those New Yorkers who already own such weapons would be required to register their guns with the state. Registry began on April 15, 2013 and must be completed before January 15, 2014.
- Requires designated mental health professionals who believe a mental health patient made a credible threat of harming others to report the threat to a mental health director, who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient's gun could be taken from him or her.
- Stolen guns are required be reported within 24 hours. Failure to report can result in a misdemeanor.
- Reduces definition of "assault weapon" from two identified features to one. The sale and/or transfer of newly defined assault weapons is banned within the state, although sales out of state are permitted. Possession of the newly-defined assault weapons is allowed only if they were possessed at the time that the law was passed, and must be registered with the state within one year.
- Requires background checks for all gun sales, including by private sellers - except for sales to members of the seller's immediate family. Private sale background checks began March 15, 2013.
- Guns must be "safely stored" from any household member who has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence crime, has been involuntarily committed, or is currently under an order of protection. Unsafe storage of assault weapons is a misdemeanor.
- Bans the Internet sale of assault weapons.
- Increases sentences for gun crimes, including upgrading the offense for taking a gun on school property from a misdemeanor to a felony.
- Increases penalties for shooting first responders (Webster provision) to life in prison without parole.
- Limits the state records law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly. However, existing permit holders have to opt into this provision by filing a form within 120 days of the law's enactment. There also may exist issues with respect to "registered" owners in the new regulations vs "permit" holders under previous law.
- Requires pistol permit holders or owners of registered assault weapons to have them renewed at least every five years.
The law was criticized as "rushed through" by the state legislature without consideration of whether it would criminalize Police and other law enforcement officers who carry firearms with magazines with a larger capacity than those allowed for civilians. Police officers are not explicitly exempted from some of the law's provisions, and the governor's office is planning on working with the state legislature to amend the legislation. Technically, the pre-existing exemption from the previous 10 round limit may cover law enforcement. On January 18, 2013, Governor Cuomo's spokesman said police officers possessing magazines with more than seven bullets would not be deemed to be in violation of the law.
Retired police officers do not appear to be excluded from any of the laws provisions, but they are working to exempt them.
The New York State Sheriffs' Association issued a statement criticizing several aspects of the legislation. Included among them is their belief that "the new definition of assault weapons is too broad, and prevents the possession of many weapons that are legitimately used for hunting, target shooting and self defense." The new seven round magazine limit was also criticized, but the statement did express support on the issue of tougher penalties for illegal use of firearms.
Some mental health experts have expressed concerns that the law might interfere with their treatment of potentially dangerous individuals, or discourage such people from seeking treatment.
Others have claimed that this is a back door ban on handgun sales, noting that seven round magazines simply do not exist for many popular models. After realizing seven-round magazines do not exist for most firearms, New York governor Andrew Cuomo reversed his position on the seven-round limit, stating, "There is no such thing as a seven-bullet magazine [sic]. That doesn't exist, so you really have no practical option." He went on to say the state needs to allow the sale of handguns and rifles with ten-round magazines, but requires the people of New York only load seven rounds in them, except at shooting ranges and competitions. He claimed the law is still enforceable. Cuomo and New York State Senate leaders planned an indefinite suspension of the seven-round magazine limit until they could rewrite the measure. In March 2013 during budget negotiations, Cuomo and lawmakers agreed to continue to allow 10-round magazines to be sold, but could still only be loaded with 7 bullets.
As of May 11, 2013, 52 of New York's 58 counties (when counting New York City's five boroughs as a single entity) have passed official resolutions in direct opposition of the NY SAFE Act; some of these counties have directed their law enforcement officials to not enforce the SAFE Act within their jurisdictions. In addition Albany county had a proclamation by the minority also opposing. At least 170 local municipalities in upstate New York have also voiced opposition. Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties have yet to act in any official manner.  While no official proclamation has been made, New York City is not expected to offer any opposition given Mayor Michael Bloomberg's public support of the bill and help in drafting the legislation. 
Legal challenges 
On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, attorney James D. Tresmond, Esq. of Hamburg, NY filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court before the Honorable Diane Devlin, making this the first legal challenge to the NY SAFE Act to be heard in any court. Further proceedings are scheduled for April 25, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. Also on the same day The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed a notice of legal claim.
On February 28, 2013, the New York State Supreme Court issued an order saying that the state must show that the law does not violate the constitution. If the state is unable to do so, the court will issue an injunction against its implementation on April 29, 2013.
On March 11, 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would not follow the provision of the NY SAFE Act requiring mental health professionals to report patients who seem more likely to hurt themselves or others. A Department spokesman stated that federal laws protecting the privacy of veterans take precedence over state laws. Advocates for military veterans had expressed concern that the reporting requirement would deter some people from seeking needed treatment.
Robert L. Schulz from "We the People of New York" filed a lawsuit asking for an injunction against the law, saying that the law was passed in violation of the New York constitution. The suit alleges that Governor Cuomo's use of a "message of necessity" to waive the 3 day waiting period for passing legislation was improper. State supreme court judge Thomas McNamara denied the injunction saying "Concerns raised should be issues raised in elective process. This is not a judicial issue." and "The Court of Appeals has been clear, is clear, that judicial intervention or judicial review of a message of necessity is not allowed"  Another judge has ordered both sides to argue their case in the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court.
In 2013, Serbu Firearms refused to sell their model BFG-50A semi-automatic .50 rifles to the New York City Police Department after the passage of the NY SAFE Act that classified their weapon as an assault rifle.
See also 
- Glaser, Howard (January 15, 2013). "Cuomo Gun Safety Legislation Passes NY State Senate With Bipartisan Support, Assembly Action Today". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "New York passes first U.S. gun control bill since Newtown massacre". CBS News. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- Campbell, John (15 January 2013). "N.Y. first state to tighten gun laws after Newtown". USA Today. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- Virtanen, Michael (15 January 2013). "NY passes first US gun control law since massacre". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- Walshie, Shushannah (15 January 2013). "New York Passes Nation's Toughest Gun-Control Law". ABC News. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- New York passes major gun control law -- first since Newtown massacre - NBCNews.com, January 15, 2013
- Cuomo Signs NY SAFE Act: 13 Provisions Of The New Gun Control Law - Huffingtonpost.com, January 16, 2013
- Confusion sets in for gun dealers after NY SAFE Act is enacted - Poststar.com, January 19, 2013
- Magazine limit, gun registration period to begin Monday - Democratandchronicle.com, April 13, 2013
- NYSAFE Act Gun Reform | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
- Berger, Judson (January 18, 2013). "NY Guv Looks to Clarify Gun Law After Concern About Exemption for Police". Fox News. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- "Thousands protest NY SAFE Act at Capitol". WRGB-TV. 20 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- Elzufon, Rachel (January 23, 2013). "NY SAFE Act Faces Changes". WWKB. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- New York Law Enforcement Exempt From Safe Act - Wetmtv.com, January 18, 2013
- NY Gun Control Laws Anger Retired Police Who Believe They Should Be Exempted From Some Restrictions
- Sheriffs’ Response to NY SAFE Act | New York State - Sheriffs Association
- Associated Press (January 15, 2013). "Experts Fear Proposed N.Y. Gun Law Might Hinder Therapy". USA Today. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20130115/NEWS01/301150056/gun-stores-Rochester-law[dead link]
- KRISS, ERIK (March 22, 2013). "State’s new limit on gun magazines put on hold because 7-bullet magazines don’t exist". New York Post. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
- Resolution quick list | NY SAFE Resolutions
- Cuomo Blames Bloomberg, Brady Campaign for SAFE Act | The Truth About GunsThe Truth About Guns
- Lawsuit Filed Challenging New York Gun Control | wgrz.com
- Joseph Spector, Gannett Albany (N.Y.) Bureau (January 29, 2013). "Opponents take N.Y. gun law to court". USA Today. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- "State Supreme Court Wants NYS to Show Good Cause that Gun Law is Constitutional", WKTV, February 27, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
- "Court to Consider Whether Speedy Approval of NY Gun Controls Violated Constitution", Fox News, March 2, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
- Virtanen, Michael (March 11, 2013). "VA Says It Won't Follow New York Gun Law", Huffington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
- Judge denies injunction of NY SAFE Act, saying not a 'judicial i - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports
- WNYT.com - NY Safe Act heads back to court
- Judge refuses to block N.Y. gun law
- Berman, Jillian (2013-04-03). "Larry Thomas, 'Soup Nazi' Actor, Pushes Serbu Firearms To Pull Pro-Gun T-Shirt Featuring His Face". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
- Higginbotham, David (2013-04-09). "No Serbu For You, Soup Nazi Wants His Image Back". guns.com. Retrieved 2013-04-25.