A rifle widely referred to as an “assault weapon” was used by the suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting at Buffalo grocery stores that resulted in 10 deaths. Except for a few exceptions here, this category of firearms in New York is illegal. Yet The New York Times According to reports, the shooter purchased the rifle legally from an Endicott gun dealer. What is the deal?
The rifle was a Bushmaster XM-15 ES. It is notIt was an “assault weapons” at the time it was purchased, but becameThe shooter modified it to make an “assault rifle”. This transformation shows how ineffective and arbitrary bans such as New York’s can be.
The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act) is a 2013 law. It was passed quickly in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December 2012. “Assault weapons” are semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines that can accept them and one or more “military style” features. We can trust that the photo in the online manifesto of the Buffalo shooter shows the firearm he bought having a pistol grip. This is prohibited. So, why was this sale allowed?
The manifesto says “the person who had this [rifle]It was made compliant by New York law through the installation of a Mean Arms magazine locking device. This secured a 10-round mag to the gun. Fixed magazines meant the rifle was no longer an “assault weapons.” However, the shooter was able to reverse that modification and make the rifle accept detachable magazine. The rifle became an “assault weapons” once more when he attacked.
Practically, this difference can have important implications as the possibility to change magazines allows for quicker reloading of guns. Other workarounds are available that allow New Yorkers legally to buy AR-15-style rifles such as the Bushmaster XM-15, which function in the same way as prohibited models. You can replace an adjustable stock with a fixed stock, for example, and replace a pistol grip with a Thordsen grip or a spur grip, neither of which “protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon,” which the NY SAFE Act prohibits.
It is an assault weapon if the rifle does not have any of the features listed in New York, such as a thumbhole or threaded barrel. Even though the rifle fires the same ammunition and has the same muzzle velocity, it is perfectly legal in New York.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.Calif.), who was the author of the 1994 federal “assault weapons” ban, believes that parts that permit gun owners to comply are unacceptable. Her goal is to ban “Thordsen type grips” and stock that can be used to avoid a ban of assault weapons. The problem isn’t sneaky entrepreneurs selling such accessories, but irrational legislators banning guns that have functionally insignificant features.
Thordsen Customs’ founder and CEO, Alan Thordsen found Feinstein’s behavior amusing. “What our rifle stocks does is take both of these individually-named items out.” [a folding or adjustable stock and a pistol grip]Thordsen explained to me that they should be replaced with traditional-style, single-piece rifle stocks. “If a feature is prohibited, we remove it. It’s not cheating. This is not a way to skirt the law, or violate the spirit of it. Our products conform to the law. We create legal guns that law-abiding individuals can keep in a legal manner so that they don’t become criminals.
NY SAFE Act permitted people with guns that were covered under its definition of “assault weapon” to continue using them, provided they register them within one year. According to the National Shooting Sports Federation, New Yorkers had about one million assault weapons when the ban took effect. However, only 44,000 of these weapons have been recorded with state police. Even though this number is alarming, it does not exclude the possibility of gun owners selling their “assault guns” to purchasers in other states.
Unregistered assault weapons are a class E crime in New York. It can lead to up to four years imprisonment. The difference between legal “assault weapon” and law-abiding “featureless” guns is negligible. It’s hard to understand the public safety benefits that the state gained by turning hundreds upon thousands of gun owners into felons.
NY SAFE Act prohibited the unregistered sale or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices[s].” The original limit of seven rounds was established. This rule had to change when lawmakers discovered the 7-round magazines they required did not exist. People could now own 10-round magazines, provided they did not contain more than seven rounds. Seriously. In 2013 a federal judge deemed that provision unconstitutional, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit agreed in 2015.
You can find more information here Meet the PressYesterday, the New York Governor. Kathy Hochul claimed that the Buffalo gunman was “able to improve the gun he legally bought in New York.” This allowed him “an increased capacity magazine” and this is exactly what we think he did. If the magazines contained more than 10 cartridges, this detail and the shooting of the gun shows that mass murderers do not adhere to gun control laws. Limits like these can incommode and possibly even endanger law-abiding gun owner who cannot legally purchase the large capacity magazines used for many guns.
Although the shooter may have been concerned about New York’s firearm regulations, he could still have killed as many people with a legally-compliant rifle equipped with 10 round magazines. It turns out that the distinctions made by legislators are not important in real life.