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1 Million Gun Owners Thumb Noses, Violate N.Y. Gun Registration Law

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One of the nation’s most ambitious gun registration schemes is a total failure, according to new statistics.

It is estimated that less than five percent of what gun control groups call “assault weapons” have been registered in New York state, more than two years after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law mandating it.

All total, 44,485 firearms by 23,847 people have been registered with the state police, The Albany Times Union reported. The numbers were only released after attorney Paloma Capanna sued the state under the Freedom of Information Law. State attorneys tried to block the release by claiming a database of firearms information was exempt from that law. Even though 23,847 may sound like a lot, it is estimated that 1 million people in the state own such a firearm. That equates to a 2 percent registration rate.

“What these numbers expose is that, if there are people who are willfully ignoring the law, that means tens of thousands of gun owners are not complying with a law that is supported by New Yorkers,” Leah Gunn Barret, the executive director of the gun control group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, admitted.

Hundreds of Thousands Ignore Law

It means hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers – perhaps up to 1 million — could be violating what is known as the SAFE Act, The New York Daily News reported. The law banned guns such as the AK-47 and required those who already owned similar weapons to register them.

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The statistics show that the SAFE Act, which makes possession of an unregistered weapon a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, has failed dismally.

A tally of the statistics published in the Times Union shows just how ineffective the Safe Act is:

  • Only 35 assault weapons were registered in Bronx County, which has a population of 1.4 million.
  • 109 assault weapons were registered in Queens County, which has a population of 2.3 million people.
  • More than 2.6 million people live in Kings County, New York, (which contains much of Brooklyn), but just 54 of them registered assault weapons.
  • The population of Richmond County (Staten Island) is 473,279 but only 52 assault weapons were registered in that jurisdiction.
  • Registration efforts were a little more successful in New York County (Manhattan), where 1,640 assault weapons were registered. The population of Manhattan is a little more than 1.6 million.
  • Albany County; where the state capitol is located, has a population of 308,171 people but only 484 of them bothered to register weapons.

Capanna, the attorney, said the law is being ignored.

“I’m grinning from ear to ear,” she said.

When he signed it on January 16, 2013, Cuomo described the SAFE Act as the toughest gun control law in the nation. Under the law, registration of assault weapons was supposed to be complete by April 15, 2014.

Since then, there has been widespread resistance to the SAFE Act, particularly in rural areas of Upstate New York, where even some police officers and county sheriffs have refused to enforce it.

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