Archive for November 20th, 2013

NY SAFE Act Magazine Capacity: Overvew

The NY SAFE Act limits the capacity of firearm magazines, as defined in NY Penal Law Article 265.00 Section 23  (reformatted for readability):

23. “Large capacity ammunition feeding device” means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, that
(a) has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition, or
* (b) contains more than seven rounds of ammunition, or
(c) is obtained after the effective date of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which amended this subdivision and has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than seven rounds of ammunition; provided, however, that such term does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition or a feeding device that is a curio or relic.

* NB Suspended and NOT Effective per ch 1/2013 § 58, as amended by ch 57/2013 Pt. FF § 4

The official NY SAFE Act website has more information, as does A Guide to the New York Safe Act prepared in September by the NY State Police Office of Division Counsel.

NY PL 265.36 states:

§ 265.36 Unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

It shall be unlawful for a person to knowingly possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device manufactured before September thirteenth, nineteen hundred ninety-four, and if such person lawfully possessed such large capacity feeding device before the effective date of the chapter of the laws of two thousand thirteen which added this section, that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition.

An individual who has a reasonable belief that such device is of such a character that it may lawfully be possessed and who surrenders or lawfully disposes of such device within thirty days of being notified by law enforcement or county licensing officials that such possession is unlawful shall not be guilty of this offense. It shall be a rebuttable presumption that such person knows that such large capacity ammunition feeding device may not be lawfully possessed if he or she has been contacted by law enforcement or county licensing officials and informed that such device may not be lawfully possessed.

Unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device is a Class A misdemeanor.

A Class A misdemeanor sets you up for a kilobuck fine or a year in jail.

NY PL 265.37 states:

§ 265.37 Unlawful possession of certain ammunition feeding devices.

It shall be unlawful for a person to knowingly possess an ammunition feeding device where such device contains more than seven rounds of ammunition.

If such device containing more than seven rounds of ammunition is possessed within the home of the possessor, the person so possessing the device shall, for a first offense, be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of two hundred dollars, and for each subsequent offense, be guilty of a class B misdemeanor and subject to a fine of two hundred dollars and a term of up to three months imprisonment.

If such device containing more than seven rounds of ammunition is possessed in any location other than the home of the possessor, the person so possessing the device shall, for a first offense, be guilty of a class B misdemeanor and subject to a fine of two hundred dollars and a term of up to six months imprisonment, and for each subsequent offense, be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

I AM NOT A LAWYER.

As I understand those sections, a large capacity feeding device, as defined by PL 265.00 Section 23, either:

  • Has a capacity of more than ten rounds or
  • “[C]an be readily restored or converted to accept more than ten rounds”.

It appears to be the intent of the law that an existing large capacity feeding device can be converted to a legal, non-large capacity feeding device by modifying it in such a way that its new 10 round capacity cannot be “readily restored or converted” to the original large capacity.

There is no definition of “readily”.

The NYSP Guide uses a different terminology:

… those who possess these devices have one year from the enactment of the Safe Act to transfer, dispose of, or permanently modify the magazines to a capacity of 10 rounds or less.

There is no definition of “permanently”.

However, there’s that enigmatic asterisk and footnote in PL265.00 Section 23.

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