AR-15 Rifle Gets New Design, Now SAFE Act Compliant

Tara Dodrill

News reports relating to a redesigned AR-15 began circulating last week. Since the semi-automatic rifle, which many gun control advocates often refer to as an "assault weapon," does not possess more firing power than a hunting rifle, specific cosmetic features can be removed without reducing the functions of the firearm. Features such as an adjustable stock, flash suppressors, and the pistol grip essentially transform the so-called assault rifle into an albeit odd-looking yet legal weapon under the New York SAFE Act.

The popular AR-15 recently underwent a few cosmetic changes which will allow New Yorkers to still possess the gun, despite SAFE Act laws. An article in the Times Union said, "Gun dealers, with the help of machine shops and gunsmiths, are on the cusp of offering what they call NY SAFE-compliant AR-15s and other military style rifles."

Semi-automatic weapons have been a prime target of gun control advocates for a long time, but efforts to ban the guns ramped up after the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting. A lawyer for a New York gun shop which reportedly got an unofficial approval from a state police lawyer confirmed that AR-15 rifles would remain legal under the SAFE Act if the characteristics banned by the gun control law were no longer present. The semi-automatic rifle redesign has reportedly angered gun control advocates because the AR-15 still looks like a "scary assault weapon" even with the changes.

The SAFE Act permits magazine with sever rounds, firearms holding more than 10 rounds violate the gun control law. The New York State Assembly website noted that "very few" gun are currently sold with 7 round magazines. Gun rights advocates are not necessarily whole-heartedly on board with changing the AR-15 to keep it legal in states with some type of magazine capacity or semi-automatic weapons ban. According to The Blaze, Second Amendment supporters have argued that making cosmetic changes to guns reinforces the concept that banning a firearm based on looks is an ineffective way to combat gun control initiatives.

Excerpt from a The Times Union redesigned AR-15 report:

"Thanks to modifications by a Texas-based machine shop, the stripped down rifle has an adapter that connects the spot where the grip would go to the stock, or portion of the rifle that the shooter braces against the shoulder."

Six states currently have stiff regulations pertaining to AR-15 rifles. States where ownership of firearms deemed assault weapons is heavily restricted include Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland, and Connecticut.

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