Midnight registration deadline for SAFE Act leads to new concerns

New York's gun control law requires assault weapons to be registered by midnight Tuesday, but there are questions and concerns about implementing this part of the SAFE Act

Midnight Tuesday is the deadline to register assault weapons in New York State, under the SAFE Act. But there are concerns about this latest step in NY's gun control law.

The law requires guns classified as assault weapons to either be modified or registered.

Chief Deputy John Balloni, who oversees pistol permits and other gun matters for the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, says the registration process is online (google SAFE Act). He's concerned that many gun owners will not sign up, and that the new regulation will criminalize a large group of state residents who have been law-abiding citizens.

Balloni says he's aware of concerns because owners think it's 'a first step in government confiscation.'

Dave Simmons, president of the Onondaga County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, which represents about 40 organizations and about 5,000 members, also expressed that concern: "You can't transfer this gun to anyone in your family, it has to be sol out of state, or turned into the State Police to be destroyed. So everybody who's saying that nobody's taking our guns is fooling themselves. It's de facto confiscation."

Simmons says there are several concerns, including the vagueness of the regulation, and its implications. "If you call the State Police hotline and ask the same question 3 different times, they'll give you three different answers," he says.

Balloni says there's a 30 day amnesty, or grace period, for gun owners to sign up if they didn't realize they had to.

Simmons says how that works is vague.

Simmons also told us it could cost between $30 and several hundred dollars to bring a gun into compliance with the law. At this weekend's Syracuse Gun Show, business was brisk for vendors offering such fixes.

Efforts to repeal the SAFE Act failed in the Assembly last week, however legal challenges are onging.