Gun Control

Not Many People Obeying New York State "Assault Weapon" Registration

SAFE Act widely ignored, New York state is forced to admit.


From the frontiers of futile gun regulation, this news today from the state of New York, via the Daily News, regarding the state's post-Newtown attempt to register so-called "assault weapons":


Fewer than 45,000 assault-style weapons have been registered in New York state since a landmark gun control act took effect in 2013…

In the years since Gov. Cuomo signed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, otherwise known as the NY SAFE Act, a total of 23,847 people have applied to register their assault-style weapons with the state, according to statistics provided by the New York State Police….

By comparison, individuals in Connecticut, a state with roughly one-fifth the population of New York, registered more than 50,000 assault-style weapons after similar legislation was passed there in April 2013.

Law enforcement experts have estimated that there could be nearly 1 million assault-style weapon in circulation across the state, suggesting that many New Yorkers are ignoring what had been touted by gun control advocates as a milestone law.

Many, indeed. Sounds like about a less-than-five percent compliance rate. The Daily News has lots of breakdown of where in the state these pathbreaking, strange folk who decided to actually comply come from.

J.D. Tuccille has been on this unfolding story here at Reason for years now. Things to recall from his past coverage include the fact that governments themselves, by regularly following up registrations with confiscations, make citizens strongly inclined to violate such laws; and let's not forget the state's past attempts to keep us from having any idea how many people were complying. Now we know.

NEXT: In Wake of Fatal Shooting, Louisville Cops Shut Down Station Rather Than Meet With Local Police-Reform Advocates

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  1. Many, indeed. Sounds like about a less-than-five percent compliance rate.

    If the government decided to tax assault rifles, you can bet the IRS will make sure that compliance rate goes up.

    Ok, I shouldn’t be giving anybody any “great” ideas. Forget I even said that… Uh, wood chippers, anyone?

    1. I’m sure the IRS would make the effort, but I doubt it would be all that effective.

      1. They can’t audit everyone, right?

        1. I’m sure they’ve thought of this…if only they had more funding…

          1. If they make it self-funded out of Assault Weapon Evaluations (AWE), they can get more funding!
            Or, throw it out to private bidders, tax-farmer style. I bet there are non-profits out there that would love to have the authority to collect such tax.

    2. This makes me think again about the legality of Class III NFA tax stamps from the ATF for actual assault weapons and silencers. Imagine the outrage if we required people to plunk down $300 to the government in order to exercise other constitutional rights like…voting?

      1. Why do you think silencers are so fucking expensive? More engineering goes into a catalytic converter than a silencer, but those catalytic converters aint 1200$. Could the government’s regulation and interference in that market have something to do with it?

        1. I have heard tell that they are in fact much more affordable where unrestricted.

        2. A reasonable suppressor for a 22 or small caliber pistol runs about $250.

          Back when you could actually do any shooting in the UK, it was considered impolite to *not* use a suppressor if you had access to one.

          In fact, at least one of the models od SIG MPX has a built in muzzle break that (if you place a shroud around it) converts it into what sounds like a pretty effective suppressor. So how much does a titanium tube 5in long and 3/4in diameter with a thread cost?

  2. Looks like my own Brooklyn is way under-reporting relative to size – almost brings a tear to my eye.

  3. Because you’re only mostly dead if you’re shot by a gun that is registered.

  4. Okay, Tony. Care to pick up where we left off yesterday? I believe the score was You: 0, Everyone Else: 134.

    I’m still waiting for you to respond to my link that showed there is no correlation between gun ownership rates and gun homicide rates.

    1. Oh, you also need to respond to F d’A’s link regarding the number of crimes prevented by firearms (without anyone getting killed), which was the exact link you asked for at the start of your trolling.

      1. Those were both great links. Whoda thunk that the GUARDIAN of all fucking rags would tout the study showing the US FAR AND AWAY with the most guns but only 28th in gun-related homicides? And murders per 100k? We’re not even in the top 110….

        1. Tony had some weapons-grade derp going on yesterday, though…It was something to behold…

          1. He has truly turned bad-faith argumentation into an art. It’s like he is actually trying to fit every logical fallacy (formal and informal) into every conversation.

            1. It’s probably the commentariat’s fault. I’m sure someone sometime linked him to a list of logical fallacies, and he mistook that for an instruction manual.

            2. He is, in his own purile way, an artist.

              1. Of course he’s an artist. Why is it so hard to understand that he’s a sock?

          2. Tony is never some thing to behold…

            Tony is something to stare at in bemusement

      2. For reference, here is F d’A’s post (the link doesn’t seem to work anymore)

        Francisco d’Anconia|6.22.15 @ 4:12PM|#

        There are anywhere between 97,000 and 3 million Defensive Gun Uses annually in the US.


        C. The Frequency of Defensive Gun Use
        There have been 13 major surveys regarding the
        frequency of defensive gun use (DGU) in the modern
        United States. The surveys range from a low of
        760,000 annually to a high of three million. The more
        recent studies are much more methodologically
        sophisticated. See App. 1-3.
        In contrast, much lower annual estimates come
        from the National Crime Victimization Survey
        (NCVS), a poll using in-person home interviews
        conducted by the Census Bureau in conjunction with
        the Department of Justice. The NCVS for 1992-2005

        would suggest about 97,000 DGUs annually, with
        75,000 DGUs in 2005, the last year for which data are
        available. See App. 4-6.

        1. And here’s my guardian link:


          1. Thanks for the link.

            28th for homicide by gun. At least now they’re excluding suicides when they tally their figures. Of course that’s assuming they’re using the proper definition for homicide which is the deliberate and unlawful killing by another.

            1. The proper definition of homicide actually is the deliberate killing of one human by another.

              An unlawful killing is a type of homicide.

          2. What’s interesting about those places with higher rates than the US – I wouldn’t be surprised if it was drug war related. So, yet another reason to eliminate the drug war – it would reduce homicide rates in other places too, not just here.

            But, that’s not what Tony cares about.

            1. Probably not Venezuela or Argentina. Colombia maybe, but politics predates drugs down there, so, like Mexico, various cartels and organizations would move to different crime still boosted by murder. Caribbean states, Guatemala and some other Central American countries – probably a good number.

          3. 17% ownership by Bosnians? Either they don’t want to tell the surveyor or that’s some of the dumbest fucks around.

    2. Can you please link the thread for my personal entertainment (or name of article would be good enough too.)

      1. The Tony vs everyone thread, I mean

    3. The best (worst) was his suggestion that gun sellers be held criminally responsible if a buyer uses the gun to later commit a crime…unless they go through the proper “strict registration”.

      I got no response on my suggestions to hold parents criminally responsible if their children commit crimes…unless they go through the proper strict parenting registration.

      1. I got no response on my suggestions to hold parents criminally responsible if their children commit crimes…unless they go through the proper strict parenting registration.

        I can only assume he would support that.

  5. Oh, assault weapons. I thought they meant basalt weapons. I so hated turning in my rock collection, too.

    1. Man, that’s really old school. Did they mess with your chipped flint arrowheads too?

      1. Just rocks. Not weaponized rocks.

        1. Oh good. That means they probably left your fire sharpened pointy sticks and clubs alone too. Caveman arms for the win!

      1. “I want em now”:

    2. Nobody needs more than 10 rocks.

      1. I’m waiting for them to wake up to finger gouging (Three Stooges, anyone?) and try to limit people to 10 fingers. It would probably goto the Supreme Court to decide if thumbs count, and heaven help New Yorkers limited to 7 fingers, or the rarity born with extra fingers.

  6. This was little [ok, nothing] more than political theater on the part of Governor Cuomo who wanted to show the country that he would do more than anyone else in response to the Sandy Hook shooting. That is the problem with emotionally and of course politically driven “do something” feel good laws [especially those that are forced through midnight legislation, if you can call it that, with no discussion never mind debate]; not surprisingly, it is totally useless, unless you consider turning a million or so otherwise law abiding citizens into de facto felons a good thing. Even if so called “assault” rifles were completely eliminated from private ownership [theoretically, not that you could actually do that] there would be absolutely no discernible change in the rate of shootings or homicides, as criminals simply do not employ these hard to conceal and [often] expensive weapons. None of that was a consideration of course, but there certainly was a lot of clamor for this at the time, and a lot of media support for it.

    As usual, more government is not the answer.

    1. More government is seldom the answer, unless the question is “How can we increase our graft?”

      1. “More government” is always the answer, where the question is, “What’s the problem.”

  7. *sigh*

    You know, as a kid, I would have never imagined that this was a documentary.

    1. Heh, I’m beginning to think that Demolition Man was a documentary.

      1. I still don’t know how to use the three seashells.

        1. I always thought it was something like this .In the future toilets like this are standard and they’re so common that the controls had been simplified and standardized to three seashell buttons.

          In truth the screenwriter himself didn’t know, that’s what made the joke work.

        2. You just curse into the microphone until you have enough paper.

  8. You folks that have essentially given the finger to NY over your ARs, bless you. It is a courageous and correct thing to do.

    But?..but? Walter White told Hank in Breaking Bad, tread lightly. There is no shortage of sphincter-like, hotshot cops and prosecutors that when they have time, will want to show you how it’s going to be. You’ll get roughed up, hauled to court and screwed over big time.

    When dealing with these people, you are dealing with dangerous animals that don’t give a rat’s ass about your rights.

    1. But what if an AR-15 wanted to marry a rat’s ass?

      Can Walter White marry hotshot cops? If not, why not?

  9. So now Empire State prosecutors have a go-to charge if they’re going after unregistered weapons owners but can’t find anything else to stick them with, or need a little extra to get a guilty plea.

    1. Not only that, but they probably get to confiscate all of the person’s weapons, not just the “assault” rifle, while barring the person from legally owning any more.

  10. Laws like this aren’t meant to be obeyed. They’re meant to turn gun owners into criminals. They know they can’t outlaw guns and go confiscate them all at once, but this allows them to do it one gun owner at a time.

    1. And they don’t have to wait for rumors to float in, or go house-to-house. All they have to do is visit gun ranges and check registrations, or check weapons during traffic stops, etc. IOW, the safest way to keep your unregistered ARs and AKs is to never use them.

      1. the safest way to keep your unregistered ARs and AKs is to never use them.

        I would think that goes without saying, but some people are dumb.

      2. All they have to do is visit gun ranges and check registrations

        Gun ranges that have firearm-specific “registrations?”

        [sigh] We have met the enemy, and he is us.

  11. I blame folks in western NY, especially in GoFuckYourself County.

  12. How many of these registrants are active duty/retired police officers? I thought “assaulty-style weapons with the shoulder thing that goes up” were illegal in Manhattan, they either have only police registering or some really dumb residents.

    1. As far as I know, if a rifle or pistol is legal in the rest of the state, it is legal in Manhattan. You just have to have a permit (there is a “normal” state-wide pistol permit, and then NYC also has its own permits for long guns that the rest of the state does not have). However, NYC will issue you these permits as long as you don’t have a criminal record; they can’t just refuse willy-nilly (in theory). And also realize the permits are basically “you can have this at your home or business or take it to the range or outside the city as long as you transport it unloaded and unlocked” and that’s it.

      A lot more people than you think have guns in NYC. It’s just that nobody talks about it.

      1. They can and most certainly do refuse permits willy-nilly. The 3 seperate permits: home possession, motor vehicle transport, and business possession are may issue at the discretion of the commander of the police precinct in which one resides. One must also have permits for each individual firearm (some precincts are fine with long-guns but not handguns, some don’t care, and some don’t issue at all). The permits are all the same cost – $380 non-refundable application fee (if issued, permit is valid for 3 years and renewable at $80 per year thereafter). I’ve transferred my collection to FFL holding relatives out of state because I can’t afford the permits.

        1. I forgot to add that you are spot on with your last sentence. There are a great many firearms here that will never, ever be registered. It also incentivizes creativity; esoteric machinations for home defense (I’m fond of spearfishing) like swords, pitchforks, spears, etc. are not uncommon and every Rasta I know keeps a machete within easy reach.

          1. “Is that a new stereotype?”

      2. When I got a long gun license in the city, I recall that NYC does not allow semi-automatic rifles that had an external or internal magazine that could hold more than 5 rounds. So my Mauser K98 was ok, but an M1 Garand with an en bloc clip of 8 rounds is not ok. I was told if I wanted to get a Swiss K31, as long as I modified the magazine to hold only 5 rounds and could prove that I had done so, it would be permitted. I moved. And when I did, they spent a year tracking me down, demanding that I prove that I had, in fact, moved. Bleah. Never going back.

  13. Why don’t they subpoena everyone in NY?

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