ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday the state is not rolling back the nation's most stringent gun control measure by keeping 10-bullet magazines legal, even though they would have been outlawed in a bill that passed earlier this year.
Cuomo and legislative leaders in state budget talks plan to change the law that was passed in January before a provision kicks in banning the sale of 10-bullet magazines. The gun measure outlaws the purchase of any magazines that carry more than seven bullets, the nation's most stringent limit. That would have put a severe limit on the sale of guns with industry standard 10-bullet magazines when the provision of the law went onto effect on April 15.
"There is no such thing as a seven-bullet magazine. That doesn't exist, so you really have no practical option," Cuomo said. He told reporters that any suggestion this will be a rollback of the law is "wholly without basis."
Cuomo said the state needs to allow the sale of handguns and rifles with 10-shot magazines, but New Yorkers will still be required to keep no more than seven bullets in them, except at shooting ranges and competitions. Violating the seven-bullet limit is a misdemeanor, but a violation if the magazine was in the owner's home.
He says the law is still enforceable. The law was the first gun control measure passed in the nation after the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., beating release of the Obama administration's proposal by a day.
Cuomo minimized the cleanup now needed in the bill as addressing "ambiguities" and "grammatical errors" and routine for complex measures. They include exempting police and their weapons and allowing Hollywood to continue to film violent movies and TV shows in New York using weapons outlawed under his measure.
Tom King, president of the New York Rifle & Pistol Association, said the move will affect gun sellers, but does nothing for the gun owner.
He says the group plans to file a lawsuit this week to overturn the gun law, which also banned sales of some formerly legal semi-automatic firearms and requires federal background checks for private gun sales.
Although Cuomo said Wednesday that the gun bill was developed over months within his administration, it was rushed to a vote in the Legislature after closed-door negotiations on Jan. 15. Cuomo issued an order approved by the Legislature that suspends the three days' public review of all bills under the constitution.
The gun cleanup bill is one of the policy issues that have become part of protracted budget negotiations. Cuomo and legislative leaders had once targeted last Sunday for a deal, with final passage of the voluminous budget bills by Thursday. Now, they hope to vote on a budget over the weekend, or next week, which conflicts with the Passover-Easter break of the Legislature.
Cuomo said other measures include tax breaks for small business, corporations and middle class families that will take effect not in the budget being negotiated now, but in the 2014-15 budget, which includes the election year for Cuomo and lawmakers.
Cuomo said the tax cuts will exceed the value of the $2 billion, temporary income tax increase on millionaires he and lawmakers are planning to extend this year for the second time. That will avoid extending tax when it expired in 2014, which is an election year.
Associated Press writer Michael Virtanen contributed to this report from Albany, N.Y.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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