Off Target

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week relaxed on one sore point in his highly criticized gun control law: Allow gun owners to keep their 10-round magazine clips.

Cuomo conceded most gun manufacturers do not produce magazines to hold seven bullets, the number of rounds limited in the New York SAFE Act. Although gun owners will be allowed to keep their 10-round magazines, no more than seven bullets will be permitted at one time.

The move by Cuomo is a step in the right direction, said state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Chautauqua County.

“Manufacturers have said they won’t produce new magazines to hold seven bullets just for New York,” Goodell said.

He added: “Because this law was rushed through so fast, it banned most police weapons. So this is a positive thing, and it acknowledges that the bill just doesn’t make any sense.”

Cuomo on Wednesday said the law will go through a cleanup phase, which will include adding exemptions for police and production studios to film violent movies and TV shows in New York.

Goodell, a critic of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act since its passage in January, said he will continue to push for its overhaul. That includes reverting back to a previous assault weapon ban.

“This law punishes law-abiding citizens,” he said.

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace also noted the law’s pinch on “responsible gun owners.”

“This does nothing but punish those abiding by the law,” Gerace said. “Criminals aren’t going to obey the law and only use seven bullets. So it’s those law-abiding citizens that are punished.”

In related news, the first man to be charged in connection to the SAFE Act has pleaded innocent in Hanover Town Court. Benjamin M. Wassell, 32, of Silver Creek, entered his plea March 14 after police said he allegedly sold illegal firearms in January and February.

Wassell had a court proceeding Wednesday, and is expected to be back in Hanover Court on April 17. The case could be transferred to County Court in Mayville.

Police said Wassell sold assault weapons to an undercover officer on two occasions. The first sale occurred Jan. 24 when Wassell attempted to sell a DelTon AR-15 rifle, a banned weapon due to a pistol grip, telescoping butt stock and bayonet mount, to the undercover officer.

The sale between Wassell and the officer was finalized at Aunt Millie’s Restaurant for $1,900 and included 299 rounds of ammunition as well as six large-capacity clips.

The sales took place after provisions in the gun control law took effect.

Also to note: The National Rifle Association on Thursday joined the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association in filing a complaint against the SAFE Act in U.S. District Court in Buffalo.

The federal lawsuit claims the law violate’s Second amendment rights for residents in New York.