With a few cosmetic changes, gun manufacturers recently discovered a way to make the popular AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle compliant with New York’s anti-gun SAFE Act, the Times Union reports.
However, even though reports on the redesigned rifle were circulating on Monday, the Times Union report and photo cited in nearly all posts are actually both from last May. The news even made Drudge Report. Given the resurgent popularity, we're trying to figure out what the reaction to the rifle has been since May -- and more importantly, if the gun is currently being sold anywhere in New York.
On May 23, the Times Union reported: "Gun dealers, with the help of machine shops and gunsmiths, are on the cusp of offering what they call NY SAFE-compliant AR-15s and other military-style rifles."
Because the semi-automatic rifle is no more powerful than many hunting rifles in terms of firing power, doing away with certain cosmetic features -- like an adjustable stock, pistol grip and flash suppressors -- transforms the “assault rifle” into a legal, somewhat odd-looking rifle in New York. Under the SAFE Act, magazines still can’t be capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
"Thanks to modifications by a Texas-based machine shop, the stripped-down rifle has an adapter that connects the spot where the grip would go to the stock, or portion of the rifle that the shooter braces against her shoulder," the report states.
Further, an attorney representing a New York gun shop previously received an approval of sorts from a State Police lawyer, who confirmed that the AR-15-style rifles should be legal so long as they do not include any of the characteristics banned by the law. Again, that was back in May. It's unclear if the gun shop has since moved forward with its plans to carry the redesigned rifle.
James Tresmond, an attorney representing H&H Firearms in western New York, told the Times Union that the gun is "basically an AR-15 without the features."
We were unable to contact H&H Firearms before the shop closed on Monday. Attempts to contact the owner, Justin Reickart were unsuccessful.
The workaround is reportedly already riling up some anti-gun advocates who still see the AR-15 as a scary “assault weapon.”
In this photo illustration, a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen with ammunition on December 18, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The weapon is similar in style to the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that was used during a massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Firearm sales have surged recently as speculation of stricter gun laws and a re-instatement of the assault weapons ban following the mass shooting. Credit: Getty Images
According to the New York State Assembly website, the SAFE Act allows magazines to be loaded with seven rounds, however, “since very few guns are currently sold with 7 round magazines, the sale and possession of magazines with a capacity of up to 10 rounds will continue to be legal.”
The law also prohibits “military-style weapons that include one or more features that increase the lethality of the weapon.”
Pro-gun advocates will almost certainly argue the cosmetic change only reinforces that banning something based on the way it looks is ineffective.
But Long Island Democratic Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel previously argued the banned features only increase the weapon's killing power.
"A pistol grip helps you keep firing on a target. Each characteristic has a specific battle component," she said.
As National Review notes, "Fewer people are killed with all rifles each year (323 in 2011) than with shotguns (356), hammers and clubs (496), and hands and feet (728)."
(H/T: Clash Daily)