New York's Assault Weapons Ban? We Can Design Around That.


New York assault weapon

Anybody with a basic knowledge of firearms understands that "assault weapon" is an arbitrary term. Politicians know they don't like it when the peasants own assault weapons, but when they try to ban the things, they end up with semiautomatic firearms that have a checklist of cosmetic features. And the thing about checklists of cosmetic features, such as that adopted by the state of New York, is that you can remove them while still manufacturing functioning firearms.

Among the companies doing exactly that is the Gun Shop At MacGregor's, in Lake Luzerne, New York, which is sticking pistol grip-free stocks on AR-15s (see the photo above). It's magic! Suddenly, the evil, controlled assault weapon becomes a nice, benign rifle untouched by New York's restrictive new law. It still goes BANG, even if it looks a tad awkward to hold.

According to a helpful pamphlet (PDF) from the New York state government, restrictions and registration requirements apply to semiautomatic rifles capable of accepting detachable magazines that have one or more of a specific list of features.

  • Folding or telescoping stock
  • Protruding pistol grip
  • Thumbhole stock
  • Second handgrip or protruding grip that can be held by a second non-shooting hand
  • Bayonet mount
  • Flash suppressor
  • Muzzle brake
  • Muzzle compensator
  • A threaded barrel designed to accommodate the above
  • Grenade launcher

You'll notice that none of these features have anything to do with the actual function of the firearm. So, if you make a rifle without them, you're legal, without changing the internal workings at all.

According to shop owner, Rich, the restocked rifles received verbal approval from the state attorney general's office as compliant with the law. In the video below, he explains how a converted Smith and Wesson rifle is just fine by the rules, and just how stupidly the law is written.

New York's law has actually created a new market for companies like SB Products, that make after-market products for modifying the cosmetics of "assault weapons."

Then again, a company could just redesign a weapon it manufactures to be compliant. That's what JR Carbine Products, an outfit based in Canandaigua, New York, did with its pistol caliber carbines.

JR Carbine
JR Carbine Products

Restrictions on assault weapons, like New York's SAFE Act, don't make anybody the tiniest bit safer. But innovation and a healthy contempt for politicians' intentions does help keep us safe from intrusive government.

NEXT: Jacob Sullum on Why Obama Changed His Mind About the NSA's Phone Record Dragnet

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  1. The very fact that they put ‘bayonet mount’ in these bans should by itself be reason enough to not take them seriously.

    1. I dont know about where you live, but drive-by bayonetings are a big deal around here.

      1. Sort of like modern day jousting, I take it?

      2. ‘Look out! That guy with that gun has a knife!’

        1. Who would bring a knife to a gun fight?

          1. Bitter clingers.

          2. “Just like a Dago….bringing a knife to a gun fight”

            /appropriate Sean Connery accent

        2. ^^ someone not familiar with the spirit of the bayonet.

          How else do your orphans make the green grass grow?

          1. Reply to Bo not Rich.

            1. Damn this threading. Thought it had reached maximum reply indent.

              1. maximum reply indent

                Nice (techno) band name.

                1. Can you really describe those who make techno music in a group a band?

        3. There is a reason bayonets still exist.

          In certain close fighting situations, they are useful. That said, outside of warfare, I cant imagine the reason for one. Other than that they look cool, which is good enough for me.

          1. This past Saturday I heard gunfire next door, so I did what any normal person would do and put my revolver in one pocket and a couple loaded speed loaders in the other. Turns out dude was shooting a 7.62 SKS that, you guessed it, had a bayonet on it. Had at least four of the listed cosmetic features on it. Cool gun.

          2. There is a reason bayonets still exist.

            Bayonet – the eighth round.

          3. My point is that it totally belies the point these gun control proponents make: we are not against lethal weapons like guns per se, just these ‘assault weapons’ because they can be used to kill so many so quickly. Then they note a knife on the gun as a defining feature of that.

            1. A knife on a gun is scary looking.

              A pistol grip is scary looking.

              A thumbhole stock is scary looking.

              A second handgrip is scary looking.

              A bayonet mount is scary looking.

              A flash suppressor is scary looking.

              A muzzle brake is scary looking.

              A muzzle compensator is scary looking.

              A threaded barrel is scary looking.

              A grenade launcher is scary looking.

              1. Diane Feinstein explained that the pistol grip makes it easier for someone to shoot from the hip. Which is much deadlier than using the fucking sights.

          4. I say ban bayonet mounts, too.

            They’re scary looking; and why does anyone *need* a bayonet mount?

            1. “…why does anyone *need* a bayonet mount?”

              Uh….to mount a bayonet?

              1. That sounds painful. Something Warty employs in his dungeon.

                1. +1 bladed rape device from Se7en

          5. That’s the funny thing: A feature to make it more suitable as a militia weapon (which is supposed to be the justif’n in the US & many state constit’ns for letting people carry it) is also the legal reason given for not letting people carry it. It’s just like freedom of speech, wherein the best reason to restrict it is also the best reason to grant it.

    1. I’m pretty sure a barrel shroud isn’t a shoulder thing that goes up.
      Next she’ll start talking about assault clips.

    2. Never has an Irish Fish Wife gone further on less than Carolyn McCarthy.

  2. “…shall not be infringed.”

    What does that mean?

    1. It depends on the meaning of what infringed is, which obviously does not mean reasonable, common sense restrictions every reasonable person can agree on.

      1. Silly me. I thought restrictions infringed.

        1. That’s only because you don’t have the special glasses that allow you read the “Fuck You, That’s Why” clause.

    2. It means you can’t put that leather fringe stuff on your guns.

      /”Andrew Coumo”

      1. It means you can’t put that leather fringe stuff on your guns.

        Shit….! The New York “Gay and Guns” community is truly fucked now!~

    3. It means you can’t put any fringes in it.


    4. Registration is not infringing. I mean, as long as you ask permission and obey orders you can still keep and bear arms. Well, some arms. In some places. But you still can, kind of. As long as you obey. Yeah. Obey. That’s what “shall not be infringed” means. It means obey.

    5. INFRI’NGE. i/. ?. [infringo, Latin.]
      1. To violate; to break laws or contracts.
      2. To destroy ; to hinder.

      Source: Dictionary of English Language, 6th Edition. Samuel Johnson, 1785

  3. It still goes BANG, even if it looks a tad awkward to hold.

    No more awkward than a Winchester 94 or a Marlin 336.

    1. +1 bruised shoulder

    2. What???? The ’94 is the best balanced, best pointing weapon ever devised by man. When you pick on up it becomes part of you. It is a work of art, the best of industrial craftsmanship and ingenuity.

      Go sit in the corner.

      1. I like them. I own several.
        I meant the hold is similar, even if the NY-compliant AR stock looks like a bicycle part to me.

  4. They probably just improved the aim of a bunch of amateurs.

  5. the restocked rifles received verbal approval from the state attorney general’s office as compliant with the law.

    “We have no record of any such approval.”

    /”Andrew Coumo”

    1. Yea, I’d want a hell of a lot more than verbal.

  6. ‘Murican engine-uity!

  7. Free will and human nature are a total bitch for central planners.

    1. When free will and human nature bite central planners on the ass, the obvious solution is more central planning. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that happened here.

      1. They’ll ban anything with a detachable magazine.

    2. Central planners are a total bitch for healthy humans.

  8. The last picture, of the carbine one… It’s kinda neat looking. Kind of an elegant sweep to it. Wonder how much the grip/stock flexes? Although on a pistol caliber probably not at all.

    I’m going to stick with a stock grip, though.

  9. It means you can’t put that leather fringe stuff on your guns.

    But my Sharp’s buffalo rifle looks naked without it.

    1. Busted for possession of an assault weapon or pornography — your choice.

  10. One day, preferably sooner than later, may a huge tsunami come wash all the nannies out to sea.

  11. Round two will include these features:

    -the color black
    -anything that is designed to be held by a hand
    -hollow barrels
    -pointy things

    1. Honestly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they banned the color black.

      1. “Goes to mindset, Your Honor.”

      2. And camo – don’t forget scary camo.

        1. Camo can be justified for hunting. Black, not so much. Black is just scary and serves no purpose other than to be scary.

      3. Good ole Democrats still believing they can do as they please with anything colored black.

      4. Honestly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they banned the color black.

        Didn’t New York already ban bright colors for guns? I know they were trying.

        1. Didn’t New York already ban bright colors for guns? I know they were trying.

          Suddenly the ‘gun and religion clingers’ and homosexuals have some common ground to oppose/undermine statist regulation.

          It may be a sin, but I think a rainbow-rhinestone AR-15 would be a fabulous way to thwart the legislation. Maybe if it were a Vulcan, it would be a forgiveable sin.

          1. One of my old roommates is gay and liked going shooting with me. He isn’t flamboyant or anything so I doubt I could persuade him to have a rainbow AR-15. Though if you could come up with a Buffy/Angel themed AR he’d definitely be on board.

            1. I wonder if the Pink Pistols actually have any pink pistols. Gotta ask Andrew Greene some time.

              1. I know magpul and some others have started stocking color/designer accessory kits to appeal to women. Pink is usually among the options.

                I haven’t seen anyone go ‘full gay’ though.

  12. OT: Oderus Urungus, lead singer for the band GWAR has been found dead.

    1. That’s like so last week.

      1. Man, I’m so out of the loop.

  13. I am going to go make an egg sandwich and try to get over what LiveFreeOrDiet said.

    1. My power… Power… Power! POWER!!! HAHaHAHAHAHAHHA! (cough)
      Sounds good. I’ll be right over. You live somewhere in Virginia, right?

  14. That gun dealer will be holding a simple black pipe if the idioticians keep growing that points list.

  15. TBH, reading some of the other articles on Reason (more the forums that follow them), I’m sarcastically flabbergasted that was able to circumvent the law without a complex, jury-rigged, custom-built 3D printer.

    Rich must be a genius of the highest order as I’m sure there are several amateur mathematical proofs out there that show circumventing firearm laws without a 3D printer is impossible.

    This has got to be the biggest innovation in firearms law circumvention since the invention of the bench grinder maybe even the hack saw. I’m probably underestimating demand if I said I expected to see an ‘NY-legal’ AR-15 in every home in America within the next 6 mos. What is the BATF to do?

  16. Every time I see that term I can’t help but woder : “Is there any object which can truly be called a weapon which has no capacity to be used for assault?”

    It’s kinda like “flight aircraft” or “wet water”.

  17. This just proves we need to close the loopholes in the law.

    1. That’s what is so telling. The gun is compliant with the law, and the banners cry loophole. Hey, assholes, he’s following YOUR RULES.

      Yesterday Carl Levin was ripping Caterpillar for sheltering income from U.S taxes. Not accusing them of doing anything illegal. Gee, Senator, you’ve been in Congress for 36 years, any idea where all these complicatd tax regulations came from ? Hey, asshole, Caterpillar is just following YOUR RULES.

  18. Bans on assault weapons are sumptuary laws.

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