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A05843 Summary:

COSPNSRCook, Jaffee, Lavine, Lifton, Ramos, Robinson, Arroyo, Steck, Fahy, Simon
MLTSPNSRDinowitz, Englebright, Glick, Gottfried, Johns, Markey, Ortiz, Paulin, Peoples-Stokes, Perry
Amd SS265.00, 400.00, 265.02, 265.10 & 265.20, Pen L; add S232, Exec L
Relates to prohibiting the possession of certain 50 caliber firearms; directs the division of state police to embark on a program whereby persons currently in lawful possession of such weapons may be reimbursed for the fair market value thereof upon turning such weapons in to a designated officer.
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A05843 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Kavanagh (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law and the executive law, in relation to banning 50 caliber weapons   PURPOSE: To prohibit the sale, possession, or use of .50 caliber rifles--extreme- ly high powered weapons designed to kill humans and disable machinery or vehicles at distances of well over a mile--which are too large and unwieldy for effective home defense and too powerful and destructive for hunting.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Presents legislative findings. The legislature hereby finds and declares that 50-caliber or larger weapons having the capacity for rapidly discharging ammunition have no acceptable purpose. The legisla- ture additionally finds and declares that such weapons pose such an imminent threat and danger to the safety and security of the people of this state that it is necessary to ban the possession and use of such weapons. Section 2: This act shall be known and may be cited as the ".50 Caliber Threat Reduction" Act. Section 3: Amends section 265.00 of the Penal Law to add a new subsection (26) defining 50-caliber weapons: Paragraph (a) provides that 50-caliber weapons include those which: (i) fire a 50-caliber or larger bullet; or (ii) are capable of firing a projectile that attains a muzzle energy of 12,000 foot-pounds or greater in any combination of bullet, propellant, case, or primer, or; (iii) any copy or duplicate of any such weapon that it capable of firing a projec- tile that attains a muzzle energy of 12,000 foot-pounds or greater regardless of caliber. Paragraph (b) provides an exemption for any firearm that meets the defi- nition of paragraph (a) but was purchased before the date of enactment of the chapter of this paragraph. Paragraph (c) provides an exemption from the definition in paragraph (a) above for: (i) any weapon rendered permanently inoperable; (ii) any firearm which meets the federal definition of an antique found in 18 USC 921; (iii) any weapon validly registered pursuant to subdivision eighteen of section 400.00 of this chapter. Such weapons shall be subject to the provisions of paragraph (d) of this subdivision; (iv) any firearm which meets the definition of a curio or relic, i.e. manufactured more than 50 years ago; (v) any muzzle-loading rifle or shotgun with a rifled bore; Section 4: Creates new subdivisions 18 and 19 of section 400 of the penal code to create a system for the registration of weapons defined in paragraph (b) of subdivision 26 of section 265.00 of the penal code. Subdivision 18 requires the owner of a weapon defined in paragraph (b) of subdivision 26 of section 265.00 of the penal code, to undergo the same registration processes set up by the SAFE Act for assault weapons which were exempted (grandfathered) from the prohibition. Within one year of the effective date, all weapons defined as 50-caliber weapons which were purchased before this bill was signed into law must be regis- tered. All registered owners will be subject to a review of disqualifi- ers by the State Police. Qualified retired New York or federal law enforcement officers who purchased a 50-caliber weapon as part of their official duties must register that weapon within 60 days of retirement. The state police will establish and maintain a website to educate the public on what weapons are in fact prohibited. Any person who knowingly fails to register such a weapon shall be guilty of a class A misdemea- nor. Those who unknowingly fail to register will be issued a warning and will have 30 days to come in to compliance with the law or the weapon will be seized. Any costs associated with technological upgrades required to electron- ically transfer registration records by dealers or licensing agency shall be borne by the state. Subdivision 19 provides that when one is in violation of this section but holds an otherwise valid license they will not be subject to prose- cution for any violation of any provision of section 265.00 of the penal code related to illegal possession and will only be guilty of a class a misdemeanor. Section 5: Creates a new subdivision (11) of section 265.02 of the penal law to include possession of a 50-caliber weapon among the offenses that constitute criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. Section 6: Amends subdivision 3 of section 265.00 of the penal code to include 50 caliber-weapons in the definition of "firearm." Section 7: Amends subdivisions 1, 2, 3, and 6 of section 265.10 of the penal code to include 50 caliber-weapons alongside assault weapons and machine guns in order to prohibit the manufacture, transport, improper disposal, and willful defacement of such weapons. Section 8: Amends paragraph 8 of subdivision (a) of section 265.20 of the penal code to include 50 caliber-weapons alongside assault weapons and machine guns, to exempt manufacturers' from prosecution when they are producing, repairing or developing 50 caliber weapons for official use by police officers, correctional officers, or the military. Section 9: Creates a new subdivision (f) of section 265.20 of the penal law which excludes 50-caliber weapons from the definitions of the terms "pistol," "revolver," "rifle," and "shotgun" in paragraphs 3-5, 7-7b, and 12-13a of subdivision (a) of section 265.20. Section 10: Amends the executive law by adding a new section 231 to include a provision which mandates that all licensed dealers in New York will be able to return any unsold new 50-caliber weapons to the manufac- turer for a full refund within 30 days of the effective date of this section. In cases where the manufacturer refuses or fails to provide a full refund, the dealer shall immediately notify the attorney general so that he or she may intercede on behalf of the dealer. Further, within 30 days of the effective date any person may turn in a used .50 caliber weapon to the state police in exchange for fair market value. Section 11: Sets forth the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: 50-caliber styled weapons are some of the most dangerous in the U.S. military's arsenal and perhaps the most dangerous weapons legally avail- able in the state of New York. These extremely high powered rifles are designed to kill human beings and disable machinery and materiel at distances of well over a mile. Due to the large size of bullet used by these rifles and the high velocity at which these bullets are fired, the rifle can be extremely accurate at long range when handled by an experi- enced shooter. While the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms, the Supreme Court has said that this right is "not unlimited." District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 595, 626 (2008). The court also recog- nized the historical tradition of prohibiting "'dangerous and unusual' weapons." Id. at 626-27. This legislation heeds the guidance of the Supreme Court by increasing the safety of New Yorkers while observing the protections of the Second Amendment. 50-caliber styled weapons are readily available to civilians in gun stores and through the internet, leading to thousands of rifles having been sold throughout the country in the last two decades. Some weapons are so dangerous that we simply cannot afford to continue selling them in our state. It is exactly the benefit of 50-caliber weapons to the military that make them such a potentially dangerous weapon in the wrong hands. A weapon with the capacity to kill a human at over a mile, pierce body and vehicle armor, and destroy military and civilian infrastructure could cause considerable destruction and havoc. Alarmingly, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) investigators have found that some of these weapons have ended up in the hands of domestic and international terrorist organizations, international drug traffickers, and violent criminals. Despite their versatility in war, these rifles have limited lawful purposes. They weigh between twenty and forty pounds and measure almost five feet in length. They are too large and unwieldy for effective home defense and too powerful and destructive for hunting. This bill will require the registration of all covered 50-caliber weap- ons in the state purchased before the effective date of the ban, will prohibit the sale of new 50-caliber weapons, and will prohibit other transfers of 50-caliber weapons. This legislation is necessary to protect our citizens and the law enforcement personnel who risk their lives to keep us safe. Past attempts in other places to limit the sale of 50-caliber weapons have been thwarted by gun manufacturers who have made slight adjustments to the weapons in order to bring them into compliance with the law. These modified weapons, however, are no less dangerous than their prede- cessors. In order to address this problem, this bill seeks to broaden the definition of 50-caliber weapons to include not only those weapons which fire a round that is 50-caliber or higher, but also all weapons which fire a round that generates 12,000 lbs of muzzle energy. The bill therefore effectively balances the competing interests noted by the Supreme Court in its Heller decision by prohibiting new sales or trans- fers of 50-caliber rifles which are too high powered to be useful for any usual lawful purposes, like home protection, self-defense, or hunt- ing.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2014: A03322A (Kavanagh) - Codes 2013: A03322 (Kavanagh) - Codes 2012: A05926 (Kavanagh) - Codes 2011: A05926 (Kavanagh) - Codes 2010: A09904 (Kavanagh) - Codes   FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE: Unknown.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately; provided however, that sections one through nine of this act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after this act shall have become a law.
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