Thanks to the restrictive SAFE Act Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law last January shortly after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, what used to be a misdemeanor is now treated as a felony in New York -- turning gun owners into criminals.
From the Times Union:
The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) data from arrests and arraignments statewide showed 1,291 charges under the new gun law, with 1,155 for felony firearm possession, formerly just a misdemeanor, and 1,041 of the cases in New York City, mostly in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The new felony took effect in March, elevating the charge and penalty for illegal possession of a firearm.
What’s more, the law banned the sale of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, leaving 59 people to be charged statewide with misdemeanors for possessing “large capacity” magazine or having more than seven bullets loaded in a magazine.
Cuomo’s spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa views these numbers as a victory.
"The numbers are indisputable. The SAFE Act has enabled the state to better protect New Yorkers.”
However, New Yorkers who cherish the Second Amendment see it a bit differently. Take Hans Farnung, the chief executive of Beikirch Ammunition in East Rochester. He now has two stores in Pennsylvania due to New York’s new gun law that restricts him from selling AR-15s, as well as as some other guns because of pistol or thumb hole grips that place them under the new legislation for assault weapons.
"We've done well this year, but some of it is still panic buying," Farnung said. He noted that he now has .22-caliber ammunition, which had sold out and remained in short supply earlier this year. Meanwhile, American Tactical Imports decided to leave Rochester for South Carolina, taking 118 jobs, while AR15.com left the Finger Lakes region for Texas, he said.
"January will be the first anniversary," he said of the law. "Show me proof violence is down, shootings are down, murders with handguns are down."
With such an anti-Second Amendment environment, it may be that business is not the only thing that flees New York.