By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is backing down on a provision in the new gun control law that in three weeks would have banned gun shops from selling weapon clips that hold up to 10 bullets.
With opposition still active by gun rights groups and owners, Cuomo said the law passed in January has “inconsistent’’ provisions that permit people to have 10 bullet magazines at a competition or gun range but makes it illegal to have more than seven rounds in the magazine. Gun makers say they do not make seven-round magazines, and gun rights groups say Cuomo’s gun bill was crafted as a way to limit their gun purchase rights by going after the clip sizes.
Under the plan being negotiated at the Capitol, Cuomo said it will still be illegal for people to have more than seven bullets in a clip, even if that clip has a 10-round capacity. The only exception is at gun ranges and at shooting competitions.
The law grandfathered in existing 10-round clips purchased before April 15. Now, those larger clip sizes will still be allowed to be sold after April 15 in New York if the deal is finalized. The plan was first floated by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Tuesday.
Cuomo, whose poll numbers have been dropping, especially upstate, said the change has nothing to do with anything other than what he characterized numerous times as inconsistent language. Cuomo said any push to permit people to still put up to 10 bullets in the 10-bullet capacity clips is a “non-starter.’’
UPDATE: After meeting with Cuomo this afternoon, Silver sought to downplay the change. "It's a change to accommodate commerce, basically. They're not being made in sevens,'' he said of seven bullet clips.
Asked if he was worried about more, larger clips being in circulation, which was the stated intent of the lower magazine sizes when Cuomo and lawmakers cut the deal, Silver said: "The issue is not the magazines. The issue is the people and what they do with them ... We're banning assault weapons. We're not going back on banning assault weapons. That's a tremendous accomplishment in this state.''