Comments: The NY Mall Shooter

Being a resident of upstate New York, where the article says the shooting happened, I can correct a few inaccuracies in Publicola's mostly-right-on post.

New York state's "assault weapons" ban is identical to the former federal ban, except it has no sunset date. Hence, legal semi-automatic rifles manufactured after September of 1994 may have no more than one ugly feature: pistol grip, flash hider, bayonet mount, folding stock, and legal removable magazines manufactured after September of 1994 must have a capacity of ten rounds or less.

Though legally obtaining and possessing any firearm in New York City is difficult, and though legally obtaining and possessing a handgun in the rest of the state requires a permit and registration, long gun possession outside of the Big Apple is pretty much like freer states: you walk into a gun dealer, show him your driver's license, fill out the ATF form, wait for him to do the instant check, lay down cash, check, or credit card, and walk out with your rifle or shotgun and as much ammo as you wish. Black powder firearms purchases require no background check or ATF form, though black powder revolvers must be registered to a pistol permit holder if possessed in addition to the materials with which to shoot them (bizarre, eh?).

Hence, this guy's AK-47 clone could have been perfectly legal. I could walk into the black rifle store on Central Avenue in Colonie (next door to Albany, which has a more restrictive city "assault weapons" ban), lay down $350 or thereabouts, and walk out with one. Good thing he didn't know that to do any real harm with a rifle, you have to aim it.

Posted by Bill St. Clair at February 14, 2005 01:03 PM

One more thing. The two Dicks Sporting Goods stores I've been to in the Albany area have a hunting section which sells rifles, shotguns, ammo, bows, knives, and assorted accessories. No black rifles and no handguns.

Posted by Bill St. Clair at February 14, 2005 01:08 PM

Hi, kids.

Guess who used to work at Dick's Sporting Goods?

If the Kingston location was anything like the Middletown, NY location where I worked, I severely doubt that the employees would have been unable to find the right triggerlock key to unlock a rifle or shotgun to even make it usable. Tackling the guy made as much sense, or maybe using a rifle as a club.

Quite frankly, you'd be better of with a sand wedge from the golf department.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at February 14, 2005 02:42 PM
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