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January 15 2013

New York State Targets Handguns

Anna Rittgers

The handgun is the preferred tool for personal defense because it is both effective and easy to handle.  This is an especially important trait for women, senior citizens, and those with physical disabilities who decide to arm themselves.  If necessary, you can use one hand to dial 9-1-1 while using the other hand to aim the handgun at an assailant.

The New York State Legislature—a body that is, on the whole, totally ignorant of the mechanics of firearms—is set to pass legislation that among many things will essentially outlaw the use of all handguns except for single-stack semiautomatics and revolvers.  The seven round magazine capacity limit is extreme:  there are blindingly few semiautomatic handguns manufactured to hold magazines with a maximum capacity of only seven rounds.

Here’s the main problem:  manufacturers don’t make seven round magazines for most semiautomatic handguns.  Perhaps that is the reason they passed this law---as a back-door method of instituting a sweeping ban on semiautomatic handguns.  (Don’t let the word ‘semiautomatic’ scare you:  semiautomatic ONLY means that when the trigger is pulled, the casing is ejected, and another round chambered.  You have to pull the trigger every time you want to fire a bullet, since the gun is only capable of shooting one bullet at a time).

The practical result will be the state prohibiting law abiding gun owners from using their handguns in self defense, as it will become illegal to use even the most common firearms.  There is no ‘grandfather clause,’ so legal gun owners who comply with New York State’s existing ten round magazine limit will have to sell or dispose of thousands of those magazines within a year to comply with the new law. Those that fail to comply—who possess magazines that can hold eight or more bullets--will be guilty of a misdemeanor..

To remain law-abiding, those registered handgun owners possessing the currently-lawful ten round magazines will have a choice:  they will either have to remain defenseless if and until manufacturers make seven round magazines compatible for their handguns (and who knows if that is possible or how long that will take), or they will have to purchase new handguns that already meet the new requirements.

But buying and registering handguns is an extremely burdensome process in New York, taking  four to six months to just get a license to purchase handguns.  The handgun permit must be renewed every three years, and an additional fee charged each time a new handgun is added to the permit.

Legislators are incapable of offering a reasonable explanation on how the seven round limit will reduce gun violence. Do they really expect criminals to obey this particular law when they are already breaking current gun laws?

These “feel-good” measures will do absolutely nothing but increase the burden on law-abiding gun owners trying to exercise their Constitutional rights under the Second Amendment. Ultimately, it will make it more difficult for women (and men) to exercise their natural right of self-defense.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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