by Nicole Reitz
The Oswego Armory hosted a public meeting Wednesday where officials from two state agencies answered questions about the new NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act).
Michael C. Green, executive deputy commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, and Steve Hogan, first deputy counsel for the state police, came prepared to explain what is covered under the NY SAFE ACT, which was recently signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The presentation began with a definition of an assault weapon, as defined by the state legislature in the legislation. Any pump, lever or bolt action shotgun or rifle by definition can not be an assault weapon, and does not be registered.
“The vast majority of guns do not constitute as assault weapons under this statue,” said Green.
An assault rifle is classified as a semi-automatic rifle able to accept a detachable magazine. It also needs to have one or more of these characteristics: a folding or telescoping stock, a second hand grip or protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand, a bayonet mount, or a threaded barrel capable of accommodating a flash suppressor, muzzle break or muzzle compensator.
For a shotgun or pistol to be considered an assault weapon, it needs to again be semiautomatic and an have an ability to accept a detachable magazine.
Green explained how the law affects current owners of these weapons.
“If you have a weapon that is classified as an assault weapon under this statue, if you lawfully owned that weapon the day before the statue was passed, you can keep that gun,” said Green. “This law doesn’t say that you have to give that gun up.
“If you want to keep the assault weapon, you need to register it,” he added. “Once you register, you are still lawfully in possession of that gun”
The free registration process is through the State Police, beginning in mid March. Registration is available online and there is also a paper option. Assault weapons possessed before Jan. 15 must be registered within in a year and re-certified every five years.
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