A Diamondback Firearms representative, rear right, explains features of one...

A Diamondback Firearms representative, rear right, explains features of one of their rifles on display at the 35th annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas. (Jan. 16, 2013) Credit: AP

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislators last week approved sweeping changes in a new, comprehensive gun law.

The law affects not only assault weapons, but also ammunition sales, registration requirements and mental-health mandates and criminal penalties. The law has sparked numerous questions by gun owners about new requirements.

Here's a look at some of the details:


The new law, called the NY Safe Act of 2013, bans semiautomatic rifles that have more than one of the so-called military-style features, including: pistol grip, folding stock, flash suppressor, thumbhole stock, bayonet mount and a second hand grip that can by held by the non-trigger hand.

The ban doesn't cover pistol-grip shotguns. However, semiautomatic shotguns are illegal if they contain more than one of the following: folding or telescoping stock, second handgrip or protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand, a fixed capacity of more than seven rounds or an ability to accept a detachable magazine. Also, revolving cylinder shotguns are covered by the ban.

Semiautomatic pistols are banned if they contain more than one of the following: folding, telescoping or thumbhole stock; a second handgrip; ability to accept a magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip; a shroud for the non-trigger hand; a threaded barrel for a flash suppressor, barrel extension or forward handgrip; and a weight of 50 ounces or more.


The government isn't going to take away guns or force you to sell them.

Any weapon that was legal before will be grandfathered in. However, assault weapons purchased before Jan. 15, 2013 -- the day the new law was signed -- must be registered with the New York State Police within 12 months. Unknowingly failing to register an assault weapon would result in a warning and you would be given 30 days to register. Those who knowingly possess an unregistered assault gun could face a felony charge.

Handguns and semiautomatic guns must be re-registered every five years. There will be no charge. Registration will generate a review through the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system.

Alternately, rather than register, you have up to a year to sell your gun to a licensed dealer or someone out of state. After a year, you can transfer only to your spouse or child.


Magazines are restricted to seven bullets, down from 10. If you owned a 10-round clip before the law, you can keep it, but legally load only seven rounds.

If you own a pre-1994 clip that holds more than 10 rounds, you have a year to sell them to a licensed dealer or to someone out of state, or disable them. Or surrender them to authorities.


For the first time, all ammunition must be purchased through a licensed dealer who is registered through the state. Before sale, the dealer must run a background check of the buyer through NICS. The dealer must also report the sale to a new state database. These provisions won't take effect for a year.


Private sales are still allowed -- but the seller must have a firearms dealer perform a background check of the buyer through NICS. The state says it will reimburse dealers $10 to do the checks. The law provides exceptions for a sale to your spouse or child.


A provision would allow current and future handgun-permit holders to keep their personal information private.

State Police have been directed to come up with a form over the next 30 days that would allow you to mark or check a box or a blank to request privacy. Handgun owners could qualify for a privacy exemption if they have "reason to believe he or she may be subject to unwarranted harassment upon disclosure of such information," according to the law.

Current permit holders would then have 60 days to fill out the form. Future applicants would have the option of completing the form. Counties would submit all the names and addresses of handgun owners to a statewide database so that law officers can determine whether any individuals are barred from owning guns, because of criminal convictions, for example, and then determine whether a privacy request is valid.


Previously, counties had different requirements, with some upstate offering lifetime permits. The new law now requires anyone who owns a handgun or grandfathered assault rifle to recertify his or her permit every five years. That already is the case in downstate counties.


Firearms owners who live with individuals who have been convicted of a crime, been involuntarily committed, or are subject to an order of protection are obligated to keep their guns secure in a safe-storage depository or put a safety lock on the gun.

Web links:

For more information and a list of frequently asked questions, go to www.nysafeact.com or, beginning Monday, call 1-855-LAWGUNS (529-4867)

NY Safe Act 2013: open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2230-2013

How individual senators voted: open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2230-2013

How Assembly members voted: www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=%0D%0A&bn=s2230&term=2013&Summary=Y&Votes=Y

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