Gun design legal, deadly Arms makers work to make AR-15-style weapon conform to NY SAFE Act

It might be the most divisive element of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY SAFE Act: an expanded ban on what the administration terms “assault-style” weapons, such as the Vietnam-era AR-15s that are wildly popular with gun enthusiasts.
But the ban is proving to be less than total. Gun dealers, with the help of machine shops and gunsmiths, are on the cusp of offering what they call NY SAFE-compliant AR-15s and other military-style rifles.
Prototypes for the new rifles have been on display at gun shops from western New York to the Adirondacks in recent weeks. And now a lawyer representing one shop says he has gotten what amounts to an OK from the state, in the form of a letter from a State Police lawyer confirming that AR-15-style guns should be legal as long as they lack the characteristics prohibited by the law.

“It’s basically an AR-15 without the features,” said James Tresmond, a western New York lawyer representing H&H Firearms, a Lackawanna gun shop that’s seeking to sell such a rifle.
“People are champing at the bit” for the modified rifle, said Justin Reickart, who with his wife operates H&H.
He aims to offer an AR-15-style rifle with the pistol grip permanently removed, and without banned accessories such as a folding stock, a flash suppressor or a bayonet lug.
Thanks to modifications by a Texas-based machine shop, the stripped-down rifle has an adapter that connects the spot where the grip would go to the stock, or portion of the rifle that the shooter braces against her shoulder.
A prototype of the rifle looks almost indistinguishable from the totemic AR-15 except for the stock.
“It looks like a paintball gun,” Reickart joked.
It retains the semi-automatic capability possessed by any standard AR-15, meaning one can simply pull the trigger for each shot rather than having to work a bolt action or lever each time.
And it uses the same .223 cartridge as its military cousin.
Salespeople are showing a similar prototype rifle to customers at The Gun Shop at MacGregor’s in Lake Luzerne.
Salesman Ed Proctor said shooting enthusiasts who patronize the store, including a few state troopers, say they’re interested in buying the modified weapons.
Tresmond, Reickart, Proctor and others have stumbled upon an obvious aspect of the NY SAFE Act: The now-banned weapons are defined by a handful of very specific military-style features.
If you remove those features permanently, the guns can be made legal for purchase. (Those who owned such guns prior to the law’s implementation are grandfathered in, but they now have to register the guns with State Police.)
Lawmakers and others who opposed the law say it’s an example of how economics, along with a bit of imagination and tinkering, are prevailing over what they see as a hastily crafted law.
“The industry is starting to respond to the market,” said Rochester-area Republican Assemblyman Bill Nojay, a vocal opponent.
Nojay said the ease of modification came up during the brief legislative debate on the bill in early January.
“What the heck is the difference?” asked Troy-area GOP Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, noting that the modified rifles have the same firepower and potential lethality as those that are banned.
Like other opponents of the law, McLaughlin said the key component of any weapon is the person behind the trigger.
Passed on the outset of this year’s legislative session, the NY SAFE Act also limited to seven the amount of cartridges that someone is allowed to put in a weapon’s magazine. The bill also requires mental health workers to report gun owners who may pose a danger to themselves or others, and it tightened rules on background checks and pistol registration. The measure was championed by Cuomo in response to the Dec. 14 mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and the murder only days later of two firefighters outside Rochester.
The act has already sparked several lawsuits, including one by Tresmond challenging the expansion of the assault-style rifle ban.
While the legal action is likely to go on for months or years, Tresmond said he was seeking to help his gun shop client determine what he could or couldn’t sell.
He wrote to Kevin Bruen, a State Police lawyer, who affirmed that guns with the banned features permanently removed should be allowed under the new law.
“We’re moving close and closer to where we need to be for our clients,” Tresmond said.
The modifications aren’t particularly difficult for gunsmiths, who also point out that the AR-15-style rifle, first developed for military use in the late 1950s, has a modular design that makes it easy to add or remove different features.
Some gun-control advocates said the developing market for NY SAFE-compliant rifles was news to them, but not a surprise.
Long Island Democratic Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel said that following the 1994 federal assault weapons ban — which expired a decade later — gunmakers developed “AB” or “After-Ban” models of military-style weapons.
Schimel disagreed with McLaughlin on the significance of the modifications. She said the banned features, including pistol grips, are designed to increase a weapon’s effectiveness, or killing power.
“A pistol grip helps you keep firing on a target,” she said. “Each characteristic has a specific battle component.”
Manhattan Democratic Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, another gun control advocate, made a similar point about a firearm’s form versus function.
“The bill does not talk about whether a gun looks scary,” he said. “The bill talks about specific characteristics.” • 518-454-5758 • @RickKarlinTU
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Posted on May 28, 2013, in Government, Guns/NRA, New York, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. God Bless the American people! We we’re born out of resistance to tyranny and that attitude seems to be alive and well to some degree! Keep working the loopholes, and keep resisting!

  2. Stop caving in and either vote these monsters out of office or vote with your feet and leave the state.

  3. Schimel disagreed with McLaughlin on the significance of the modifications. She said the banned features, including pistol grips, are designed to increase a weapon’s effectiveness, or killing power.
    “A pistol grip helps you keep firing on a target,” she said. “Each characteristic has a specific battle component.”
    Manhattan Democratic Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, another gun control advocate, made a similar point about a firearm’s form versus function.
    “The bill does not talk about whether a gun looks scary,” he said. “The bill talks about specific characteristics.”

    Are you kidding me? If you don;t know jack about firearms and how they function you should not be allowed to make laws regarding firearms.

  4. Why are people caving in. This is why people of new york have had all the bad unlawful laws to begin with, they caved. Modifying a weapon just because of some act or legislation is caving. I will not cave on anything that restricts freedom and I will not cave on fighting tyranny.

  5.’s just like a neutered liberal male.

  6. we are long overdue to throw these gun-fearing downstate liberals out of this country on their ear

  7. OOOHHHHHH this rifle is so much safer than it’s “scary looking” cousin….

    This is why most gun laws are ridiculous. There is nothing about the “scary” rifle that makes it any more deadly than this rifle.

  8. I think I’ll stick with the real thing, thanks. They can go pound sand. I am the militia, and I will have battle weapons. Don’t like that? Move to France, because it’s tough titty here, commies.

    • While I have a great deal of experience with Eugene Stoner’s original AR design, I still prefer my M1 Garand, The only rifle that has turned my head from the M1, (only slightly) has been the M1A.

  9. Modifications do not make a gun more powerful; the only way they could increase “killing power” is if they improve a shooter’s accuracy. And for the sake of safety, I would hope that a person shooting for sport would do everything in his power to ensure that he is shooting as accurately as he can. The fact that gun laws are apparently crafted by people who are unable to think logically scares me a little.

  10. This is possible because as I have said for decades, liberals care nothing about reality, they care nothing about public safety, when it comes to guns they care about nothing but “aesthetics” and if it “looks military” to them it’s a “bad gun”, regardless of the actual function of the arm. This mentality id doubly dangerous when combined with the ignorance that liberals have, in which they totally dismiss the fact that it is not the gun that controls where the bullet goes, but the person aiming the gun and pulling the trigger, which makes that determination.

  11. Also, a question to liberals….What the heck is with the anti bayonet lug fetish? I’ve never heard of a mass killing any where in the U.S. committed with a bayonet or the lug.

  12. I suppose my question would be how this wouldn’t still be considered an AR-15. Unfortunately, on Cuomo’s website for the SAFE Act, they specifically say: Any AR‐15 variant designed to fire ammunition in any caliber manufactured by the firms listed below: and proceed to name 163 AR manufacturers by name. At the ATF level, the receiver is what constitutes the actual firearm, which is why a stripped lower with a serial needs to be on A&D records. Now, per 27 CFR 478.92 (a) (ii) the model of the gun needs to be engraved on either the frame, receiver or BBL of all firearms under the mandatory marking requirements. So, even with a marking variance to call the model something completely different for engraving purposes, the ATF authorized marking variance would still note it as an AR Style because its an AR receiver. The state could call it an AR variant and unless it was by someone who wasn’t one of those 163 mf….who knows. As an AR manufacturer we have looked at those stocks and have considered for NY (as we’re in NY and are on the named list) but its a real grey area. Still might happen though. Its ultimately going to come down to what the state decides when they get their hands on one. My guess is they will say no. I hope they don’t say no by revoking someones dealer in firearms license to prove their point.

  13. Thatis what the toughest gun law in the nation produced, lmao… it is an improved stock. The controls are reachable, it balances the rifle and it looks really cool. The one feature I never like was that funny looking grip. the first thing any AR owner did was to replace that thing. If that stock had been available before the new law took effect I would had bought. In my opinion it is an improvement. Go and grab one. Reloading in a hurry is much simpler… thank you NYS Safe act.

  14. Btw, these ARs with this stock are now being sold in NYS in many local stores. I think we are good to go.

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