Nearly a year after passage of the state's new gun law, dealer sales of popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifles have ended in New York and arrest data show more than 1,000 gun possession charges in New York City were boosted from misdemeanors to felonies because of the changes.
Meanwhile, 59 people have been charged statewide with misdemeanors for possessing large-capacity magazines or having more than seven bullets loaded in a magazine, both outlawed by the law passed last January in the aftermath of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
A report from the Division of Criminal Justice Services shows only one person charged with the illegal sale or transfer of a gun defined as an assault weapon as of mid-December. The new law tightened that definition to include AR-15s. Owners may keep their older weapons but must register them by April 15.
"The numbers are indisputable. The SAFE Act has enabled the state to better protect New Yorkers," said Melissa DeRosa, spokeswoman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He pushed the legislation shortly after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead. Police said the 20-year-old gunman used a semi-automatic rifle and 30-round magazines.