Silver May Be Open to Changing Gun Law

7:58 PM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
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from - by Joseph Spector - Gannett Albany Bureau Chief

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, indicated he may be open to changing a major piece of the state's gun-control law that limits the number of bullets in a magazine to seven.

Silver suggested Tuesday that because manufacturers do not make magazines with seven bullets, lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo may need to revisit the restriction, which was part of the gun-control law passed Jan. 15. The prior law put the limit at 10 bullets in a magazine.

"A lot of things are being discussed," Silver said. "It's a question of whether no sevens are being manufactured in the state and maybe you'll be able to use a 10 magazine with three blanks."

Silver said it's unclear whether any significant changes to the controversial law would be made.

"From a practical matter, we're discussing it. I'm just saying I'm open to it," Silver continued. "Everything in this state will better and does move better when people are open to compromise."

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said yesterday he wants significant changes, including a change on the magazine limit.

Cuomo said yesterday he would only support technical corrections to the law, such as excluding police and film productions from an assault-weapons ban. Cuomo told reporters that changing the number of allowable bullets in a magazine would be more than a technical change.

But it's unclear whether he would allow for new 10-bullet magazines that could only carry seven bullets, which Silver seems to be suggesting.

"I do not consider that a technical change," Cuomo said. "If it is raising what it now says in the law about seven to 10, I don't believe that's a technical change."

We requested an interview with State Senator Mark Grisanti (D-Buffalo) who voted for the SAFE Act.  He would not grant us an interview, but sent us a statement.

"Any piece of legislation can be improved, we would be interested in having discussions on how the SAFE Act can be improved to allow increased public safety, stricter laws for those who use guns for violent crimes, and increasing the magazine size to ten. I do not support a full repeal of the SAFE Act because there are a lot of good things included in the legislation like, protecting the privacy of pistol permit holders, increasing penalties for criminals, expanding mental health requirements and aid to schools for security upgrades that otherwise would not have been included in the legislation. I am always looking for ways to improve legislation and public policy and I am open to those discussions."

We promise to ask Senator Grisanti about the legislation in person, when we have the chance.

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