By Tom Precious
ALBANY – One of strongest backers of the state’s new gun control laws said officials are discussing changes that might keep legal in additional cases soon-to-be-banned ammunition clips holding up to 10 bullets.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, said the issue was discussed today during closed-door talks with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate leaders because he said there are “inconsistencies’’ in the law that need to be addressed before the next round of the law’s provisions take effect April 15. Lawmakers are due to take a religious holiday and spring vacation break after this week and are not due back in Albany until April 15.
Silver suggested he was open to keeping legal the current 10-bullet magazine size for guns used by homeowners for protection in their homes. “I never had a problem with that,’’ Silver said.
The Democratic leader said the law is inconsistent because it permits gun owners to use guns with magazines holding 10 bullets at shooting ranges and in competitions. The new law, as of April 15, restricts magazine sales to those holding up to seven bullets; no manufacturer makes such a clip. The law permits those who own clips holding up to 10 rounds to keep them, but they can only place up to a maximum of seven bullets in them after April 15.
Silver said all sides agree that “some change has to be made to cure the inconsistencies.’’ Could that include going back to 10 bullet magazines? “It just might, just might. As long as you ban assault weapons, that’s what I care about,’’ he said.
Would the effort being talked about weaken the gun law, which has been the subject of still-intense criticism by gun owners? “I don’t think so. The ban on assault weapons is still there. It’s untouched. That’s the real key of what we did,’’ Silver said.
In a brief appearance with reporters, Cuomo said the gun control changes being discussed are merely “technical.’’ He mentioned issues involving bullet magazine sizes by police and retired police, and concerns by the movie industry that it won’t be able to make films in New York with actors using assault weapons in action scenes. Gun rights groups have had a field day with that idea, calling it highly ironic that state officials want to let Hollywood continue to make violent movies in New York with assault weapon-carrying actors.
Cuomo disputed Silver’s characterization that there are talks under way about the sale of 10-bullet magazines. “No, there is no discussion of that," he said.
UPDATE: Silver aides tonight said the speaker still wants seven bullets to be the maximum allowed in clips, but that he was open to letting stores continue to sell the 10-bullet magazines since there are no seven-bullet clips on the market.