In its original form, the SAFE NY Act made it illegal to buy or sell magazines that can hold more than seven rounds. Owners of 10-round magazines could keep their old hardware, the law said, but they could not load the magazines with more than seven rounds.
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"The bottom line is that no manufacturer said they were going to make the seven-round magazine," said Scott Somavilla, president of the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association. "They were not going to retool a whole assembly line for one state."
The result? Many existing firearms owned by New Yorkers became "nothing more than a paperweight," Somavilla said. Because they wouldn't be able to purchase a magazine compliant with New York State law, those gun owners believed their only option was selling the now-useless guns.
Now Cuomo and state Democrats are considering an amendment that again would allow New Yorkers to buy 10-round magazines. The law still would limit gun owners to loading those magazines with only seven rounds, except in certain situations such as practice sessions at firing ranges.
"I don't think the number of rounds or magazines is really the crux of the law," said Rockland County Legis. Jay Hood Jr. (D-Haverstraw), who voted against a county resolution last month asking the governor to repeal the controversial gun law. "The universal background checks and other parts of the law are much stronger, but to limit the ammo from 10 to seven, is it really going to make a big difference? I don't know."
Critics of the SAFE NY Act accused Cuomo of pushing knee-jerk legislation in the wake of the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn., school shootings that left 26 people dead, with the goal of raising his own political profile. To them, it's not surprising that the governor would scale back the law, especially after opinion polls showing Cuomo lost considerable support from independent and Republican voters since signing the new gun legislation into law.
"That's exactly the reason why it's troubling to watch legislation pass, as this was done under the cover of darkness," said Rockland County Legis. Edwin Day (R-New City). "What Cuomo knows now is what everyone knew as soon as he [passed the law]. He just didn't take the time to figure it out."
Gina Daschblach, 44, is the co-founder of the Hudson Valley chapter of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots campaign to stop gun violence across America. She acknowledged the seven-round limit was "aggressive" and said she's not opposed to tweaks to the law as long as common sense prevails.
"Going back and looking at the act and tweaking some things, I think that shows the ability to listen to both sides," she said. "But this also comes back to show the expediencies and the necessity to why Cuomo did this so quickly. We needed to reduce the gun violence and flow of assault-style weapons immediately."