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State suspending ban on 7-round gun magazines

In January, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott invited

In January, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott invited New York gun owners to move to Texas. (Jan. 15, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

New York is suspending its ban on the sales of gun magazines larger than seven rounds because few manufacturers make clips with the seven-bullet capacity the state initially required, as part of the state budget the Assembly began approving Thursday.

The ban, already approved by the State Senate when it passed the budget on Wednesday, was supposed to have gone into effect on April 15.

However, under the New York Safe Act enacted in January, magazines still cannot be loaded with more than seven bullets unless the firearm is being used at a shooting range or a competition.

Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has denied that lifting the ban on the sale of larger magazines was tantamount to rolling back the gun law, calling it a technical "inconsistency."

Meanwhile, New York City would still prohibit magazines for rifles and shotguns registered in the city from holding more than five bullets, according to a police source, citing an administrative code.

Cuomo has said his new gun law was studied for weeks, in response to critics who say the magazine limit -- and the failure to exempt police officers -- demonstrate that the measure was crafted in haste to ensure that he would be the first governor to crack down on firearms after the fatal school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

One of those critics, Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), wants the law overturned -- and sees little room for compromise.

"I do believe it's an assault on the Second Amendment," he said. "Some of my colleagues and friends of mine believe no one should have a gun. . . . [Others] believe the ultimate goal is to confiscate weapons," he said. "That's why the two sides are digging in their heels."

Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) supports the new firearm restrictions. "The gist of the new law is intact: universal background checks, [defining] the characteristics of assault weapons," she said.

"The difference between seven and ten is not enough to me to consider it [the law] weakened; the federal government can at least attempt to match what's been done in New York State," Schimel said.

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