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Style over Substance: Re-Designing AR-15s To Undermine Gun Control Bill

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Oh, the futility of legislating gun styling! The NY SAFE Act signed into law by Governor Cuomo was created to limit the sale and ownership of assault weapons, primarily those based on the AK-47 or AR-15 design. However, the bill defines assault weapons not on their lethality but on the largely superficial aspects of military weapons such as bayonet mounts or a pistol grip on the stock. Its like outlawing guns that are grey.

Gun makers are just going to change how they look and sell the same firearm for more money because it can pass the ban. As Rick Karlin in the Times Union so aptly observed:

The modifications arent particularly difficult for gunsmiths, who also point out that the AR-15-style rifle, first developed for military use in the late 1950s, has a modular design that makes it easy to add or remove different features.

I suppose that the law could function as a symbolic gesture expressing New York States preference for the elimination/control of guns that arent associated with hunting. Theres something to be said for affirming a groups inclination to denounce the kind of weapons that we so often hear about in mass tragedies.

Perhaps the differences between hunting rifles and assault weapons can only be found in styling and cultural association. If the ban was based on lethality rather than military features, it would certainly impact more than a few dozen models of gun.

If youre interested to learn exactly what counts as an assault rifle, here is an illustrated list (PDF) courtesy of NY State.

Tags : AK-47AR-15assault weapongun designNY SAFEstyling
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