Government Sucks and Entrepreneurs Rule: How a Simple Modification from a Gun Manufacturer Allowed New Yorkers to Buy an AR-15 Legally

4 (2)One month after the Newtown school shootings, the governor of New York state, Andrew Cuomo, signed into law a ban on the sale of assault weapons, hailing it the “nation’s toughest”.

The Safe Act, signed in January 2013, introduced stricter background checks while banning high-capacity magazines and so-called assault weapons like the AR-15-style gun Adam Lanza used to kill 27 people in Newtown in December 2012.

But while pro-gun campaigners continue to argue that the law is too strict – and are due to protest outside New York’s statehouse in Albany on Tuesday – gunmakers, gun shops and gun owners have found a remarkably simple way to make their assault weapons legal.

As well as banning the sale of assault weapons in New York state, the Safe Act required all those who already own such a weapon to register them with the state by 15 April 2014. The law also introduced a stricter definition of assault weapon: a semi-automatic rifle that takes a detachable magazine and has one of 10 features, such as a “bayonet mount” and a “grenade launcher” but also a “protruding pistol grip”.

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