Dumb Cuomo Gun Law Dumped

If only New York Democrats read National Review, or even Discriminations….

Back in January I argued on National Review Online that Gov. Cuomo’s new gun law was almost certainly unconstitutional. “Whether by clever design, simple ignorance, or haste-induced inattention,” I wrote, its provision limiting magazine capacity to seven rounds

turned the most popular handguns bought for self-defense and recreational purposes — 9mm and .40 caliber semi-automatic pistols — into expensive paper weights, unusable for their intended and wholly lawful purposes. That’s because, with the exception of a small number of small 9mm “pocket pistols” and a slightly larger number of .40-caliber pistols — there are no seven-round magazines produced or available (magazines produced for semi-automatic pistols normally hold eight or more rounds). Thus, although the most popular handguns themselves remain legal under the New York law, the magazines that are necessary for them to work have been declared illegal.

Even though the New York law is not an outright ban of 9mm and .40-caliber handguns, it does make most of them inoperable, and thus would seem to fly in the face of the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Heller v. District of Columbia, in which the Court noted that “handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.” Even more to the point, the Court also held that restrictions short of complete bans could also fail constitutional muster. Thus it ruled invalid the District’s requirement “that firearms in the home be rendered and kept inoperable at all times,” noting that doing so “makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.” (The holding in Heller was applied to the states in McDonald v. City of Chicago.)

Could it be that someone on the governor’s staff actually read National Review? Unlikely, but I suppose stranger things have happened (although I can’t think of one at the moment). In any event Bloomberg News reports that the seven-round limit will be suspended “indefinitely.”

The ban on magazines holding more than seven bullets was set to start April 15. Cuomo has said the law needs to be rolled back because manufacturers don’t make seven-round holders. The measure was a center piece to a gun law the 55-year-old Democratic governor pushed through the legislature in January, making New York the first state to respond with tougher gun regulations to the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre.

You might think that Cuomo and the Democrats in the legislature rushing through a restriction on magazines to a size that does not exist reveals them to be dumb and incompetent. They may well be, but their new law still served their purpose quite well. Gun laws have very little if any impact on gun violence, but then their real purpose is to make their sponsors look like they’re “doing something,” etc.


For a fuller deconstruction/destruction of Cuomo’s folly, see Cuomo’s Shameful SAFE Act.

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