As the National Rifle Association and other groups line up to challenge New York's new tougher gun control laws in federal court, a little-known state firearms measure passed over a year ago is also under fire for not showing any significant results, police say.
While the current law expanding the state's assault weapons ban and lowering ammunition capacity limits on gun magazines has gotten all the attention, some lawmakers are taking another look at a statute Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed last year that authorizes $500 rewards for information leading to the arrest of illegal gun owners.
“This initiative seeks to turn neighbor against neighbor and uses their own tax dollars to pay for the $500 reward,” Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin told CBS 6 News in Albany
Police also complain that the process of taking information from informants and investigating takes too long and could lead to mistakes that in turn lead to legal challenges against police.
"You simply can't appear at someone’s doorstep, bust a door down, go in take a weapon, and try to go to a judge later (and say), 'Well, your honor we thought this was going to happen,'" said Troy Police Chief John Tedesco.
The rewards law, however, is just one piece of Cuomo's efforts to crack down on gun violence that's under attack. Before his larger measure that was passed quickly in response to the Newtown, Conn. shootings last December can even take effect, it's already facing challenges in court from a variety of gun rights groups.
The National Rifle Association Thursday joined the the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, in a federal lawsuit against the new law, which they say violates the rights of “law-abiding citizens to keep commonly possessed firearms in the home for defense of self and family and for other lawful purposes."
The federal lawsuit, also backed by sportsmen groups, gun owners, and businesses that sell firearms, takes specific aim at the law's assault weapons ban and a confusing provision limiting the capacity of gun magazines and clips to seven rounds.
"Criminals have and use magazines without any limitation in capacity," the lawsuit claims.
“The act's provisions on magazines put law-abiding citizens at a grave disadvantage to criminals, who will not comply with the seven-round limit."
Cuomo and legislative leaders on Wednesday said they are considering changes in the magazine provision before the law goes into effect next month that could end up removing the seven round limitation for magazines.
That provision angered gun owners not just because it sought to place a limit on ammunition rounds but because it also outlawed magazines that hold more than seven rounds. That little caveat, gun rights groups said, amounted to a ban on all magazines because none are made that hold seven round or less.
Cuomo was forced to agree. "There is no such thing as a seven-bullet magazine. That doesn't exist, so you really have no practical option," Cuomo said this week, as he addressed a question about raising the round limit.
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