MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Cuomo Wants to Copy California's 'Assault Weapon' Ban and Limit Magazines to Seven Rounds

The New York Times reports that what Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday described as "the toughest assault weapons ban in the country" would copy California's definition of forbidden firearms. In addition to a list of specific models, California's law covers guns that meet certain criteria. Any one of these six features, for example, makes a rifle with a detachable magazine illegal in California (unless it was legally owned prior to June 1, 1989, in which case it has to be registered): 1) a flash suppressor, 2) a grenade launcher or flare launcher, 3) a thumbhole stock, 4) a folding or telescoping stock, 5) a forward pistol grip, or 6) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon. If you are wondering why a mass murderer needs any of these features to kill schoolchildren or moviegoers, you have already put more thought into this issue than the average legislator.

Federal legislation sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)—which has not materialized yet, although she said she would introduce it on the first day of the current congressional session (i.e., last Thursday)—apparently takes a similar approach. According to her office's summary, Feinstein's bill will ban "the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing" of "120 specifically named firearms," along with "certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, [and] shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics." Under the federal "assault weapon" ban that expired in 2004 (which also was sponsored by Feinstein), those "military characteristics" for rifles were 1) a bayonet mount, 2) a grenade launcher, 3) a folding or telescoping stock, 4) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, or 5) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor. Feinstein wants to eliminate "the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test" and add "thumbhole stocks" while reducing the number of permissible characteristics from one to zero. Her bill also would apply to guns with "bullet buttons," which require the insertion of a bullet to remove the magazine so that the magazine does not technically qualify as detachable under existing laws.

According to a National Rifle Association analysis posted last month, Feinstein's list of forbidden features includes not only a pistol grip that "protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon," but "any other characteristic that can function as a grip," including a "forward grip," defined as "a grip located forward of the trigger that functions as a pistol grip." The NRA says that language has potentially sweeping implications:

Read literally and in conjunction with the reduction from two features to one, the new language would apply to every detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifle. At a minimum, it would, for example, ban all models of the AR-15, even those developed for compliance with California's highly restrictive ban.

The NRA says Feinstein's bill mentions rocket launchers as well as grenade launchers. "Such devices," the NRA notes, "are restricted under the National Firearms Act and, obviously, are not standard components of the firearms Feinstein wants to ban. Perhaps a subsequent Feinstein bill will add 'nuclear bomb,' 'particle beam weapon,' or something else equally far-fetched to the features list."

The delay in unveiling the bill suggests Feinstein is still tinkering with it, perhaps to address issues such as these. Like the California law, Feinstein's bill would let people keep guns newly defined as "assault weapons." Her office says this grandfather provision "protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners"—a puzzling claim, since we have been assured over and over again that "assault weapons" have no legitimate purpose, even though rifles described as "assault weapons" are very popular yet rarely used in crimes.

While it looks like Cuomo's "toughest assault weapons ban in the country" is actually no tougher than California's and may be less restrictive than what Feinstein ultimately proposes, he does have an idea that would put New York on the cutting edge of arbitrary gun rules. Under current New York law (and under Feinstein's bill), magazines are limited to 10 rounds. Cuomo says the limit should be seven instead. Why? Because seven is less than 10. Duh. Or as Cuomo put it yesterday, "No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer." And that, after all, is what the Second Amendment is all about: killing deer.

The Times says the bill Cuomo wants "would also close a loophole that has thwarted enforcement of limits on the size of magazines." That loophole, as Cuomo's office explains, is the exclusion of "large capacity" magazines made prior to 1994. Something like 30 million of those are in circulation, and Cuomo complains that they are indistinguishable from all the millions of magazines made after that date. Reducing the limit from 10 rounds to seven multiplies the number of pre-existing "large capacity" magazines by including all the 10-round magazines made before the new rule takes effect. Confiscating whatever fraction of those newly illegal magazines are currently in New York or end up there is a big project, to put it mildly, and criminals probably won't be turning them in voluntarily. As usual with gun control, the burden of this restriction will be borne almost entirely by law-abiding people. That reality should give pause to anyone who takes lawmaking seriously, instead of treating it as an exercise in emotionally driven symbolism.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • bmp1701||

    They really ought to reopen the arms portion of Silk Road so that you can sell magazines through it.

  • ||

    There are plenty of other places in the TOR network that exist as marketplace for various types of firearms.

  • WTF||

    I heard part of Cuomo's scary gun ban speech on the radio on the way in to work this morning. He was practically shrieking when he got to "nobody needs 10 rounds to kill a deer" part. Even the radio news commenter said Cuomo apparently didn't realize he was not speaking without a microphone.

  • bmp1701||

    But if I do want to shoot a deer 10 times, I can shoot it 5 times with a bolt-action, reload it with a clip, and shoot it 5 more times! ZOMG LOOPHOLE!!11!!!

  • Tim||

    You know who else liked to shout into microphones?

  • ||

    Your mom?

  • Tim||

    Jerk store!

  • ||

    Hey, Tim, the zoo called. You're due back by six.

  • bmp1701||

    Madonna?

  • WTF||

    Michael Buffer?

  • ||

    Sam Kinison?

  • Zeb||

    Don't most states limit the number of rounds that you can have in a hunting rifle anyway to 4 or 5?

    And since when is the only use for a rifle to kill a deer. I do need a 10 round magazine to kill an old clothes dryer. Those things don't go down so easy.

  • fish||

    Perhaps a subsequent Feinstein bill will add 'nuclear bomb,' 'particle beam weapon,' or something else equally far-fetched to the features list."

    Also known as the frustrate Epi provision!

    Based on todays Drudgereport do you think the NRA is meeting with Biden to give him a big sloppy wet kiss for goosing their membership roles?!

  • ||

    Like I would obey a law forbidding particle beam weapons, phasers, or contra-terrene devices.

  • fish||

    ....or contra-terrene devices.

    Ooooh...a "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" reference!

    Well played sir!

  • ||

    That reality should give pause to anyone who takes lawmaking seriously, instead of treating it as an exercise in emotionally driven symbolism.

    Except there is no one (in power) who takes lawmaking seriously, and nothing that is done is ever anything but emotionally driven symbolism, pandering, or cronyism. Sorry, that's the reality.

  • Tim||

    It's what the voters want, emotions, symbolism and Obama phones.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I would argue that they take their pandering and emotionalism very seriously.

  • ||

    I agree, but that's not the lawmaking.

  • Jordan||

    Her office saya this grandfather provision "protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners"

    In other words, it protects the rights of existing gun owners but infringes on the rights of future gun owners. Derpgressives are rarely this candid.

  • ||

    Not currently confiscating the weapons of some gun owners in a divide and conquer move isn't remotely protecting their rights.

  • R C Dean||

    No kidding. It certainly doesn't protect my right to buy a new gun as I see fit.

  • Zeb||

    And what is all this shit about hunting? How is that at all relevant? Seems to me hunting could be banned entirely under the second amendment.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's because of the prevalence of "Fudds" out there who will gladly watch as handguns, semi rifles, and defensive shotguns are banned, so long as their bolt action 308s are safe.

  • Jordan||

    God, I'd give anything to find a gunstore that wasn't staffed by Fudds. There was a good one when I lived in Dallas.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I mean, I myself may come off as a bit fuddish since I don't think "modern sporting rifles" serve a necessary purpose outside of a zombie apocalypse situation, and am totally uninterested in getting one myself. But you have to recognize that they're going to come for other types of guns once they've whetted their appetites.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    And frankly I'll be helping them take the hunters' guns! If I can't have my guns for self defense, I'll take the hunters along with me purely out of spite.

    Plus it will be nice to get rid of the hassle of drunk Billy-bobs trespassing on private property because they think a hunting permit means the laws don't apply to them anymore.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    "No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer."

    Unless you're using 25 ACP.

  • bmp1701||

    How does the deer die? You shoot it 10 times with the 25 ACP, the angry deer gores you, your guts end up on its antlers, they fester, the festering fumes drive the deer crazy, and it runs in front of a truck to stop the horrible smell?

  • Drake||

    How many bullets do the Governor's bodyguards need to keep him safe?
    Whatever the answer, that's how many I need to keep my family safe.

  • Drake||

    I will predict that the percent of magazines turned is a rounding error from zero. The same number of assault weapons turned in when NJ and MA passed bans.

  • Tim||

    To think I used to drive to New York State for rifle matches with my AR.

  • John||

    I am so tired of this "protecting the rights of hunters" bullshit. These people have no idea what the hell they are talking about. Hunting rifles are deadly as hell. I have a 8mm Mauser that can kill a elk at 200 yards and is nothing but a German military rifle with a better, lighter barrel. I bet a round from that cannon would go through three first graders at close range. And don't even get me started on what one of my shotguns would do or even my poor innocent .270 deer rifle.

    There is nothing special about an "assault rifle" if you can even define what one is. A good hunting rifle is every bit as deadly. These people are retarded.

  • fish||

    I seem to recall 60 Minutes doing a segment years ago when proglodytes were having a case of the vapors over the AK menace where they shot a watermelon with an AK....melon breaks in half with the back blown out of it.....! They shot a second melon with what I believe was a .270 deer rifle and vaporized the fucking thing. We're going to need a fainting couch big enough for the whole country if they re-run that!

  • John||

    An AK has a smaller powder load. That makes the ammunition lighter and easier to carry than a true long rifle. It also gives it a shorter range and less deadly than a long rifle in many ways. If you are in a fire fight at the tractor works in Stalingrad, an AK is fabulous. But I can't see where it is anything special if you are just walking into a room to kill unarmed people.

  • fish||

    But I can't see where it is anything special if you are just walking into a room to kill unarmed people.

    You can't.

  • iggy||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgr3kTU68uw

    My fainting couch will have a couple new grooves in it after watching these murder machines at work. Tell my gentlemen callers I shall be unavailable until the morrow.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, I read an artical recently where the idiot writes that assault weapons fire rounds that are designed to liquify the insides of human beings. I don't even think phasers have that setting. I'm sure plenty of people just except what he say's and reposted it on facebook.

  • Zeb||

    And all of the dipshits talk about "assault weapons" as if they are the most powerful guns available or something. When they pretty much by definition are medium powered guns.

  • ||

    Because guns don't kill people...

    ...scary looking guns kill people.

    Fuck these ignorant cunts.

  • Brendan||

    I wonder what if they've considered the consequences of a Supreme Court decision against these laws.

    Imagine all those state bans they love being overturned along with the (assuming it passes) federal ban.

    It's a nice dream

  • Adam330||

    Do you need 7 bullets to kill a deer? Or even one? I mean, you can kill a deer with a bow and arrow. Or even a club if you're really fast. I bet I could kill a deer by making it listen to Andrew Cuomo yell and scream too.

  • John||

    Do you need 7 bullets to kill a deer?

    Depends on how good of a shot you are.

  • R C Dean||

    True story:

    I have never hit an animal with a followup shot. My next hunting rifle purchase will be a match-grade .308 barrel for my single-shot Thompson Center, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is the only rifle I ever take hunting.

    Except for feral hogs. Those get the M1A with the 20 round mags.

  • John||

    Yeah, unless you have a very smooth semi automatic with very little recoil, you are going to lose your sight picture. And of course the animal is going to be moving. Good luck getting a new sight picture on a moving target.

    And that single shot .308 will take your shoulder off. I like my 8mm bolt action. I just love a bolt action rifle and Mausers especially. They are just things of beauty.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    And that single shot .308 will take your shoulder off.

    The fuck are you talking about, John? .308 is fairly mild as far as recoil is concerned. With proper shouldering and practice shooting, there is no reason on earth you should lose your site picture with a 308.

  • T||

    Guy I work with told me .308 kicks too much for him. I'm still baffled by that. He doesn't seem like a wimp...

    I had a buddy with a Ruger Number 1 in one of the big magnum calibers. That thing was fucking painful, but a .308? Really?

  • John||

    If it is a semiautomatic, sure. If it is a single shot? Reloading and or cambering a new round with a bolt tends to destroy a shot picture.

    And because there is no mechanism to use the recoil to chamber another round, lever action, bolt action and single shot rifles of anything above about 25 caliber tend to kick like mules.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    If it is a single shot? Reloading and or cambering a new round with a bolt tends to destroy a shot picture.

    True enough. But you mentioned that it would "take your shoulder off" which has nothing to do with the loading mechanism, but with recoil.

    And because there is no mechanism to use the recoil to chamber another round, lever action, bolt action and single shot rifles of anything above about 25 caliber tend to kick like mules.

    That's crazy talk. Like I said, with proper shouldering of the stock and practice, a 308's recoil is fairly mild.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I'm not sure about his shoulder, but I think a Contender (a pistol) is a good deal lighter than any rifle chambered in .308. Lighter = more recoil, all else remaining equal.

    My Fudd father always wanted a Ruger #1 (or whatever the single-shot falling block model was called) for much the same reason. It was a way of bragging that you only needed one shot.

  • Gray Ghost||

    People have different sensitivities to recoil. I'm fairly sensitive, but I don't find .270 or '06 unpleasant to shoot for brief periods, even from a bench. I wouldn't want to go through a High Power match, but I don't mind shooting a box or two. .300 Win Mag is another story.

    How do you feel about shotgun recoil, John? Most recoil calculators put a heavy duck/goose load (never mind a slug) above that from a .308. Which makes sense. 1 1/2 oz of shot at 1300 FPS is going to have a pretty good equal and opposite reaction.

  • John||

    I think shotgun recoil sucks, which is why I have no desire to ever hunt geese again. Better to hunt smaller game with a 20 gauge than have your shoulder torn off with a 12 gauge.

    No recoil short of a .50 caliber is that bad. But it is just not pleasant.

  • T||

    12 gauge 3" loads are kind of stout, but regular 2-3/4" aren't that bad, especially with a semi. Mine won't shoot 3-1/2", so I dunno about those, but I can't imagine they're much fun after about 5 or 10 rounds.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Mine won't shoot 3-1/2", so I dunno about those, but I can't imagine they're much fun after about 5 or 10 rounds.

    They hurt pretty badly after repetition.

    I'll shoot 100 3" shot shells at pigeons in one session. A little soreness will occur, but nothing too bad.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Get a semi-auto shotgun, the cycling mechanism absorbs most of the recoil.

  • A. Freeman||

    That's why we in NY won't turn on our radios and point them toward the woods. Deer don't like Andy and he does not like them; they don't vote.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    This is all you get.

    It was good enough for John Wilkes Booth. It's good enough for a bunch of paranoid gun fetishists like you.

  • DJK||

    Where's Tony to tell us how the 2nd Amendment is so outdated and such? He was in such a shit fit earlier today.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    That there are people foaming at the mouth to either take my guns outright, or severely restrict them, is reason enough for the 2A.

    As long as there are people willing to take them via force, the 2A CANNOT be outdated.

  • Restoras||

    It. It is nothing but a sock you use to wipeup your rubouts.

    It craves nothing but responses. The posts it made on the earlier thread should be incontrovertible proof of that.

  • Tejicano||

    I wish somebody in the House or Senate would have the balls to out-derp these gun grabbers. With all the blather about “designed for nothing but killing human beings” I would like to see exactly those words written into the “assault weapons” definition. The progs would either have to backtrack on those words or blindly let them pass. Then it would be easy to show that the AR-15, its derivatives, and any other semi-automatic rifle on the US market was not designed for that purpose.

  • Sosalty||

    Cuomo, Bloomberg, and Schumer: we'll make NYPD handgun policies politically correct even if it kills you, which if it'd get reported, I'd guess has happened. Thru the 90's, up until 1998, the NYPD had to use the worst possible factory produced defense bullet in existence. The hi-velocity 115gr 9mm ball ammo generally overpenetrated, increasing the risk of hitting innocents behind their target. Also, the round was a lousy stopper. You've heard of dozens of rounds being fired into their victims, well if drugged, they didn't go down and become motionless when hit by old fashioned 'ball' bullets. Also, though the ammo was a lousy stopper, it was a more lethal killer as the overpenatration issue tore up more organs.
    Point 2: Up until 12/2012(?present), the NYPD Glocks were required to have unrealistically heavy trigger pulls, 11-12lbs whearas 4.5-6lbs is average. The poor NYPD can't hit much, example the state empire shooting where 11 innocents were hit. Off center hits don't drop a perp as fast, so there's still lots of bullets sprayed when they have to shoot.
    This serves a politically correct purpose. Guns are less used and when used less effective. Let's don't have the public thinking that guns help save lives more than used to kill. Even if the policy is a killer.

  • ||

    Cuomo, I hope you get this message. Im a 17 year old boy and im well informed on what is happening within the country. On the contrary, let me verify to you that we have guns for tyranical government. We are well headed to a tyranical government as well. The 2nd amendment isn`t there for hunting. For you to think that makes me think you are unfamiliar with the Bill of Rights. Im just going to put my opinion out there. If you are banning these weapons from the citizens of the United states, then these weapons shall also be banned from the government. We are suppose to protect ourselves. If our government overtime becomes a dictatorship(which i think it already is secretly,*my opinion*), then we need to kick their asses out of government to form a new one. The founding fathers came over here to escape exactly what is happening now. The government having automatic weapons seems a bit unfair for the people I think as well. Say there happens to be a revolution because the government became a tyranny. What are the odds between a citizen living and someone living who is in the government military. Keep in mind, now the citizens can only have 7 round magazines in a pistol, a shotgun and a rifle,(not assault), and that person within the government military has a fully automatic machine gun, with like a 100 round magazine. Something doesn`t seem right here.

  • ||

    The citizens also have the power to recreate a new government, until now of course. I suggest you guys stock up now, You will not beleive it, but something big is going to go down. We need to protect ourselves, even if it means doing something illegal like buying an automatic weapon. By the way gun laws arent going to stop the murders and killings of innocent people. A murderder will always find his way to kill again with or without a gun. You may say im to immature to understand what is going on, I might say back that you`re to blind to understand what`s happening. Alas, i finished what I needed to say. To those who read upon this and are taking this as an advantage to get ready for what is to come, congratulations. For those who are arrogant people and believe im an ignorant 17 year old teenager. Please continue with your every day lives, if I am wrong along with all the other people, dont go rubbing it in there faces however. If I am infact correct, along with the other people. We all deserve an apology and we will be happy to help another out. Question everything, prevent the NWO.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online