The New York Assembly has passed the NY SAFE Act of 2013. It's on its way to Governor Cuomo's desk, where it will quickly be signed into law.
I have to admit, I thought this was too extreme to pass. I was wrong.
One of the main provisions was that handgun magazine capacity would be limited to 7 rounds for civilians. A 10-round limit is one thing, but a 7-round limit pretty much bans every semiautomatic service pistol in the state. It flies in the face of the Supreme Court's Heller decision, and I'm astounded to see that passed.
Republican Senator Dean Skelos had this to say on its passage:
It is well-balanced, it protects the Second Amendment. And there is no confiscation of weapons, which was at one time being considered.
So New Yorkers are being spared the indignity of outright confiscation in favor of a simple ban. That's "well-balanced?"
There are those among us who say, "oh, what's wrong with a little compromise? We'll give 'em expanded background checks in exchange for leaving other stuff alone." I hope those who are amenable to compromise look at this situation very carefully, because this is what happens when we give the slightest ground.
Among the other provisions, the definition of "assault weapon" is expanded to any weapon having more than one "military feature" in addition to a removable magazine. That includes pistol grips, flash hiders, and bayonet lugs. The bill also establishes a registry of "assault weapons," punishes "unsafe" storage as a misdemeanor, mandates the reporting of lost/stolen firearms within 24 hours, and requires background checks on ammunition purchases.
So, basically, Dianne Feinstein's wet dream.
What next? It will immediately be challenged in court. The Heller decision protects the ownership of handguns, and of weapons "in common use."
Now, does a 10-round cap violate that? Perhaps not. But nobody makes 7-round mags for the Glock 17, the Beretta 92, the Sig P226, the Ruger P95, or any other major service pistol. Cuomo's bill runs afoul not only of the 2nd Amendment, but of the 5th as well.