ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday said keeping 10-bullet magazines legal is not tantamount to rolling back the nation’s most stringent gun control measure.
Ten-bullet magazines would have been outlawed by the gun control bill. Cuomo and legislative leaders in state budget talks plan to change the law, which was passed in January, before the provision to ban their sale kicks in.
The gun measure outlaws the purchase of any magazines that carry more than seven bullets, the nation’s most stringent limit. That would have put a severe limit on the sale of guns with industry standard 10-bullet magazines when the provision of the law went onto effect on April 15.
“There is no such thing as a seven-bullet magazine. That doesn’t exist, so you really have no practical option,” Cuomo said. He told reporters that any suggestion this will be a rollback of the law is “wholly without basis.”
Cuomo said the state needs to allow the sale of handguns and rifles with 10-shot magazines, but New Yorkers will still be required to keep no more than seven bullets in them, except at shooting ranges and competitions. Violating the seven-bullet limit is a misdemeanor, but a violation if the magazine was in the owner’s home.
He said the gun control law is still enforceable.
The New York State legislature quickly passed the gun control measure in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school massacre. Gunman Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semiautomatic in his rampage that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.
Cuomo minimized the cleanup now needed in the bill as addressing “ambiguities” and “grammatical errors” and routine for complex measures. They include exempting police and their weapons and allowing Hollywood to continue to film violent movies and TV shows in New York using weapons outlawed under his measure.
Tom King, president of the New York Rifle & Pistol Association, said the move will affect gun sellers, but does nothing for the gun owner.
He said the group plans to file a lawsuit this week to overturn the gun law, which also banned sales of some formerly legal semi-automatic firearms and requires federal background checks for private gun sales.
Although Cuomo said Wednesday that the gun bill was developed over months within his administration, it was rushed to a vote in the Legislature after closed-door negotiations on Jan. 15. Cuomo issued an order approved by the Legislature that suspends the three days’ public review of all bills under the constitution.
The gun cleanup bill is one of the policy issues that have become part of protracted budget negotiations. Cuomo and legislative leaders had once targeted last Sunday for a deal, with final passage of the voluminous budget bills by Thursday. Now, they hope to vote on a budget over the weekend, or next week, which conflicts with the Passover-Easter break of the Legislature.
Cuomo said other measures include tax breaks for small business, corporations and middle class families that will take effect not in the budget being negotiated now, but in the 2014-15 budget, which includes the election year for Cuomo and lawmakers.
Cuomo said the tax cuts will exceed the value of the $2 billion, temporary income tax increase on millionaires he and lawmakers are planning to extend this year for the second time. That will avoid extending tax when it expired in 2014, which is an election year.
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