I was talking with the guys behind the NY SAFE Act legal challenge and the one thing that struck me as something no one realizes yet is that the “assault weapons ban” provisions aren’t the section of the law that is “taking your guns.” No, the real trouble is with the magazine capacity restrictions. Because by banning all guns that can accept more than seven rounds, New York State has accidentally banned all of the most popular pump action shotguns. And since no one has really realized the implications of that magazine restriction, I figured it deserved to be explained in its own article.

[The following is based on my conversation with John Tresmond, a Buffalo lawyer who is currently spearheading two lawsuits against New York State for the SAFE Act.]

The way the SAFE Act was structured, it edited multiple sections of the NY legal code in a way where one section didn’t necessarily apply to other sections. So while there was a specific exemption for pump action shotguns and other manual firearms in the “assault weapons” section, according to the lawyers I spoke to it didn’t apply to the magazine capacity restriction section. So, for that section, pump guns are fair game.

That section of the law specifically makes all firearms “capable of accepting” more than seven rounds illegal in the state of New York. While it would appear that this doesn’t apply to shotguns we typically think of as five round guns, the reality is that because the “shorter” 1.75 inch shells are commercially available, the reality is that according to the law those guns are technically 8+ round guns (I’ve personally fit 10 such rounds in my bone stock Remington 870).

This isn’t a problem that can easily be fixed, either. Remington and Mossberg designed their guns with a permanent magazine tube which is integral to the gun. There’s no way to easily modify the firearms to only take five of the smaller rounds.

Even if modified with a smaller magazine, the issue becomes one of the availability of magazine extension tubes. The law talks about a ban on magazines that can be “readily converted” to take more than 10 rounds, and since magazine extension tubes are readily available on the market every single tube fed shotgun applies under the new law.

So, because of the magazine design on the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 shotguns, New York State has accidentally banned them. Good job, New York.

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72 Responses to New York State “Accidentally” Bans Pump Action Shotguns

  1. Yeah the way I read it, my Marlin 1894c is banned in by the SAFE act. A lever action with a fixed, 9rd magazine.

    • Didn’t they exempt lever guns? Or are they like the shotguns, exempt in one place but not another?

      • I believe they are exactly like shotguns. Exempted under the “assault weapons” section, but not exempted under the “magazines” provisions.

  2. Something you are all missing, can you get an enbloc clip that is less then eight for a garrand?
    Sure, an AR can be fitted with a nonremovable seven round mag, but how do you change an historic rifle like the King of Battle?

    • They have 5 rounders of which I have 1 for hunting. They also have 2 round clips for Garand competitions.

    • I talked to a NY gun shop employee and he said anything over 50 years old is exempted.

      I don’t know if he was right, but that’s what he said.

      • There is a provision for “curios & relics” over 50 years old yes but requires that you register any magazine over 10 rds for them as well as the gun itself. I just saw today that the requirement to register 8-10 rd mags has been dropped from the Governor’s FAQ’s SAFE site and this may be an effort to make it more palatable and fit in the M1 Garand. All the blowback working already? Careful, this changes day to day. It’s a model of gibberish and conflicting edicts. Stay tuned.

  3. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. – Hanlon’s Razor

    To say this was not an accident, is too give credit to the lawmakers for having a detailed understanding of how shotguns are made.

    It would not surprise me to learn that there is no will among the lawmakers to fix the problem. I am sure that Cuomo would veto anything that could be seen as backing down to the 2A groups.

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

    • It’s full of Constitutional holes and I’m sure big chunks of it will go. It was written with a provision protecting the remaining pieces when this happens. What we may have to prepare for is a holding that does approve some form of background checks as a function of the “Police Power” of the states and some limit to mag sizes and “unusual” firearms types or features. I don’t think they’ll fall below that of the weapons “in common use” by the police and such (except for full-auto) but there may be some regulatory powers left to the states in this regard.

  4. The anto gun think tank that wrote the bill knew exactly what was in it. The rock stupid legislators that voted on it had no idea.

  5. If I were to say, weld four double barrel shotguns together but each still maintains its own indavidual action… is that okay?

  6. Show we can kill this in court. pump action shotguns and I still think AR-15s dont make a dangerous and unusual clause in Heller so NY AWB may be struck down as unconstitutional.

    • Would that even work legally speaking? After all, the magazine in the Garand is integral and you are only “loading” five round with the reduced enbloc. The magazine still can hold 8 rounds even though it needs the enbloc to function.

      • Exactly, this is one of the problems with this law and one of the points not realized by some of the people supporting it.

      • Redlyr – darned if I know. It was sold for hunting purposes, although I don’t think there is a mag size restriction for hunting. I got it because I don’t have 8 snap caps. 🙂

        I personally am inclined to apply Hanlon’s Razor to this whole debacle, but less and less so with every passing day.

    • I got mine from Brownells. I’m sure the other similar companies carry them. The thing is, I bet most people will have no clue what an en bloc clip is.

  7. Sounds like my part of the world. Laws made in haste and ignorance by those who have almost no technical qualification.

  8. This also applies to Colorado. The Senate bill vote is tomorrow, with hunters adding 1.8 Billion to Colorado’s economy, lets hope this helps scupper it – but I won’t hold my breath.

    • Not all, but a large amount of hunters–don’t care about ”tactical firearms”. As long as their deer /moose etc rifle isn’t in danger , they don’t care. Don’t depend on them for help.

  9. Gee, I wonder where the model for Colorado’s legislation came from? RMGO’s been saying for weeks that Bloomberg is funding the coup in CO.

  10. New York State has accidentally banned them

    Banned them they may have. Accidentally? I don’t think so. New York has the best lawyers in the world. They don’t have accidents.

  11. While some of what you say may be true. You should be clear, that if you owned a shotgun that holds more than 7 shells, but less than ten before the law was passed, you may continue to possess said shotgun (or lever-action as the case may be). You simply cannot load more than 7 shells in said firearm except under limited circumstances.

    However, from 4/15 on, you will not be able to purchase a shotgun or lever-action rifle (or any rifle for that matter) that has a permanent magazine which holds more than 7 rounds/shells unless someone before the point of sale permanently modifies the magazine to restrict it to 7. So, even if you had a bolt-action rifle with an internal 8 round magazine, it’d be a no-go unless permanently pinned the magazine to only hold 7 rounds or less.

    The magazine it what is restricted. The type of gun it is attached to is irrelevant if the magazine holds more than 7 (going forward).

    This, by the way,has always been the law in NY, and was true under Federal law from ’94 to ’04, except the limit was simply 10 rounds then, and a lot fewer firearms with a fixed magazine hold more than 10 rounds (that aren’t .22 rimfire), so no one really noticed or paid attention.

    • Yes, but you still have to register it with the State Police don’t you? More snags and snares. We’re all Assault Weapons now.
      Also, always is a long time. Before the Pataki laws of the mid 90’s Upstate NY was pretty much like Wyoming – wild and free.

      • No, only “assault weapons” can be registered. Shotguns are triggering the “high capacity ammo feeding device” part of the law. You cannot register HCAFD

        • Not so from my reading. You not only have to register the HCAFD but the gun that it fits. I hope I’m wrong but that’s what I got from both the law itself and the FAQ’s web site. Horrible!

          HCAFD uh? Boy you guys are better at coming up with acronyms than the DOD. Somebody should list a glossery.

      • Hi Lemming, on further examination I glad to say you may be right. They’ve changed the FAQ entry for “you can keep your 10 Mag but it must me registered” to you can just “keep it”. Over 10 Rd mags (relics & curios) still must be registered along with their guns. Thanks for the info – maybe all the blowback is having an effect. I feel better already

    • Well, banning is one thing; taking is another. Hasn’t ANYONE got any balls anymore? I say screw ’em; let them come and take them!

      • Yeah, they really never will. We must stop them, once and for all, or we are due for lifetimes of this crap. They must be put down so hard they’ll NEVER get up.

  12. My Mossberg 500 holds five 2 3/4 shells. That’s a total of 13.75″. Divide that by 1 3/4 and you get 7.8, which is less than eight. So will the 500 still be legal? I don’t have any short shells to do an actual test. (And I don’t live in NY.)

    • Yea, but the 500 will also hold 5 shells of the 3 inch variety.
      5X3=15. 15/1.75= 8.5.

      So, it should fit 8 mini shells.

  13. I did a quick internet search of Cabelas, LuckyGunner and Sportsmans Guide but could not find any 1 3/4 ammo for 12 gauge. Exactly how “readily available” is it?

    • Look up “Aguila 12 Gauge Mini Shell”. They’re pretty readily available, and even come in the buckshot variety, not just light target loads.

  14. Yes indeed the magazine restrictions are the real problem. Equally as evil are the terms “readily adaptable” and “capable of accepting”. As we all know, any gun capable of accepting a detachable mag is capable of accepting a mag of any size – voila’ – got yourself a restriction!
    Readily adaptable might be OK if it’s ruled to not effect a replacement part not in your possession but do you want to hang your freedom on that?

    I enclose a letter I wrote to all NY legislators I thought would be interested in this matter with very good returns, hopefully some concrete results will follow.

    Dear Senator,

    OK, we’ve had some great rallies, made our points, even got the attention of our out-of-it Governor, now it’s time to actually get down to business and fix this misbegotten Safe Act.

    Having just received my update to the NY Firearms & Weapons Law guidebook its obvious that we’ve reached the tipping point in confusification. Not even the experts can decyper the piles of jibberish piled on high in reaction to various outrages or percieved dangers over the years, waiting for some outside adult intervention to save it. The entire mess needs a complete overhaul, consolidation and a good dose of logic and common sense.

    Laudable as the above is though, we have an even messier situation right at hand and lets get to that.
    As I’ve mentioned before, the misconceived and discriminatory “Assault Weapons” law is such a mess that it even forgot to make provision for law-enforcement and entertainment exceptions it will undoubtedly be brought up for revision and this presents an opportunity to make some useful changes for our side.The following points spring up.

    1/ Some rifles are not classified as “assault” per se but still have a clip which holds more than 7 rounds such as the one for the M-1 Garand which is immensely popular as both a shooter and collector’s item . The M-1 is virtually impossible to load with 7 rounds. These “clips”, holding 8 rounds, have been and are lying around by the millions. Do they all have to be registered? Are they legal to use? Nobody seems to know.

    2/ Some handguns, not classified as “assault”, come with a standard, original magazine over 7 rounds. These include such historic and collectable handguns as the Luger (usually 8 rounds) and Browning HiPower (13 rounds) as well as more modern designs well over 10. Since these are already required to be registered under NY’s Sullivan Law shouldn’t they be exempt, along with their original mags. The exemption for all antiques (both guns and magazines) is a good one, but it should be clarified and made absolute. The present law mentions “fitting replicas” for magazines, which can cause confusion. There are many replicas. What is the story on this?

    3/ Some handguns – which are antiques – such as the Mauser “Broomhandle” Model of 1896 which load directly from a “stripper clip” to an internal magazine usually holding 10 rounds. What about these types of “clips” where does it leave them?

    4/ Some commonly owned magazines load from stripper clips holding 10 or 15 rounds. Lots of surplus ammunition comes packed in stripper clips or disintegrating links. What about these items? Do they all have to be registered? Are they “feeding devices” ? They should be exempt since they are not part of the firearm itself..

    5/ The 7 round rule along with the still legal 10 round magazine is confusing and simply unworkable. This should be changed to 10 rounds just to be in line with practicality and reality. Magazines from 11 to 20 rounds should be “grandfathered”. The classic and highly collectable US Military M-1 Carbine with it’s original 15 round magazine for instance, should be exempt.
    The feeling among many is that a 30, 50 or 100 round mag in an AR 15 gives an individual too much destructive power and they may have a point, but can not the 15 or 20 round magazines they usually come with be “grandfathered?
    Along the same lines, just as it was (wisely) decided to exempt all tube-fed .22 rim fire rifles, it should be extended to the magazine fed .22 handguns as well – which usually hold 10 rounds.

    6/ The part about controlling ammunition should be dropped, it was tried by the Feds and found unworkable and useless.

    7/ Let’s finally dump the nonsense about bayonet lugs, grenade launchers, muzzle brakes and compensators.
    The bayonet thing is just plain silly – when was the last time a 7/11 was held up at bayonet point? A grenade launcher is useless without a rifle grenade (already really illegal). The other features are actually very useful.

    I realize I have not covered all aspects of this law – of coarse not – it needs a detailed study. In the end I think repeal and starting over is the way to go. The “Pataki” laws of the 90’s were bad enough but at least made some sense and were more than sufficient for the purposes intended. The latest effort to “do something” is counter-productive and will simply backfire on the gun control community, cause endless confusion and if pressed, set up some tragic “Ruby Ridge” incidents which I’m sure nobody wants.

    • Is there something wrong with you.
      You want to fix AN ENTIRELY UNCONSTITUTIONAL , How by making it less unconstitutional?

      • If you had read to the end you’d see that my ultimate solution is, of coarse, repeal.
        Hell, I’d like to see the old ’94 Pataki law AND the Sullivan act repealed.
        You just do what you can and when you can , we’re lucky they simply didn’t do a consfiscation right here and now.
        Just attacking anybody doing anything to help is not helpful.

  15. NY forgot to exempt police and their beloved Hollywood film production from the gun ban…so it is safe to say this is yet another stupid legislative accident.

  16. So we just stop giving a crap about these damn laws and abide by the Constitution. The unlawful entity here is the state, not us. End of story.

    • The Constitution is their restraint, we have no need to follow it .
      THE Bill of Rights is ours!

      The Declaration tells us how and what to do and gives us all the Legal and Moral Authority from GOD not them.

  17. The NY law is garbage. It is poorly written and won’t survive even a cursory glance by the courts. Unfortunately it will be years before the matter is settled, and in the meantime NY gun owners are basically felons. How messed up is that?

  18. “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every ragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened”–Norman Thomas, America socialist

  19. The American socialist Norman Thomas once said “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”

  20. Stupid people in positions of power doing stupid things. And its all going to be blown up when it gets to the courts. And I suspect that the idiots who started all this wont make it past the next elections…..

  21. Put the house up for sale. Have a big garage sale an move from the stinking state. Same with Cal. and now Colorado.

  22. Even Canada has exemptions for lever action and pump action tubular mag capacities.
    M1 Garand is exempted from rifle magazine limit of 5 rounds. Never thought we would have it better than you guys! Good luck down there, hope they fix this mess.

  23. I lived in New York until a couple months ago.
    New York Mag restriction does not apply to non detachable tube magazines.
    Also, you can still have ten rounders, this is completely off.

  24. The magazine restriction applies to all ammunition feeding devices. The only exception is tube-fed 22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

  25. This is a perfect example of idiots making laws about things they do not understand and God knows NY had quite a few idiots in governmental positions. Don’t feel left out if you aren’t in NY, as I’m sure you too have your share. This is exactly why I’m looking at options for leaving NY.

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