As many people know, the New York SAFE Act made it illegal to have more than seven rounds in your semi-automatic handgun magazine. The law required you to get rid of the magazine or have it permanently modified to only hold seven-rounds. Though you could still have one in the chamber, IE: 7+1, and you could carry as many magazines as you like, this law did nothing to stop criminals from loading 10 or more rounds into their magazines before going to rob a bank!
Just after the un-SAFE Act’s passage I met with both State Assemblyman Sam Roberts and State Senator David Valesky to discuss the MANY issues with the new law. In short, one of them said that they voted the way Governor Cuomo told them to. I reminded them that they work for us, NOT the Governor and assured them that they would never get my vote! Anyways, back on topic.
Right from the start firearms manufacturers one-after-another stopped shipping products to NY, others stated they would not make seven round magazines just for the state, and the worst thing was that some started pulling their businesses out of the state. With all of the push back, the Governor decided to allow us humble servants to keep our 10-round magazines as is, but we can only legally load 10-rounds into said magazine when at the range or a competition. How absurd you say? Well I agree!
Now it gets interesting. In late 2013 Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny in Erie County, struck down the component that had made it illegal for individuals to load more than seven-rounds of ammunition into a magazine capable of holding 10-rounds. So Western NY was back to 10-rounds while Eastern NY was still at seven. Then the 2nd Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals upheld the lower-courts ruling! A small win, but a win nonetheless.
Unfortunately, that is not the final straw! A Judge or Court ruling does not change the law. Technically it is still law until the law is amended. In an effort to see where the State of New York stands on this matter I contacted the SAFE Act phone number at 518-474-8390, which I got off their website https://safeact.ny.gov. I was told to contact the State Attorney General’s office. So I sent an email to the AG’s office through their website and waited.
Some many weeks later I received a letter in the mail, yes physical mail, directing me to contact the New York State Troopers to get my questions answered. Now mind you, the Troopers are the ones running the SAFE Act website who told me to contact the AG! I promptly called my local barracks who suggested I call their legal council. I asked the trooper for a phone number and he said to just Google it. Well Google is normally helpful, but it was not in this case. I decided to call the Troopers Pistol Permit Bureau. I left a message and got a call back the same day, and finally received an answer!
The State Troopers have been given a directive not to charge anyone with breaking the law for having 8-10 rounds in their magazine. However, that does not mean other law enforcement agencies in the state won’t arrest you, because they can, and the District Attorney won’t bring charges against you, because they can! A Judge MIGHT throw the case out, but who in-their-right-mind would want to take the chance and possibly have to spend time in jail, court, and spend their hard-earned money defending themselves? It is still a law in the books, and until that changes, my advice is to only keep seven-rounds in your magazines, unless you are at the range! Just make sure you have multiple seven-round magazines on you and learn how to correctly and efficiently do combat/tactical reloads. This way you have a fighting chance and possibly more ammo on hand than the bad guys do!
Shoot Straight and Stay Safe,