I saw the videotape below at Ace of Spades HQ, as well as at Hot Air, regarding a Detroit mother at home with her children when three men, at least one of whom was armed with a handgun, attempted to kick open the front back door.

Fearing for her safety and that of her children, this mother used a rifle in self-defense. She didn’t hit any of the intruders, but it was enough to scare them off initially, and again when one of them tried again to break in:

Viewing the video, I wondered whether the rifle this mother used would be legal in New York State under the new SAFE Act, which was rushed through the NY State legislature on short notice after the Newtown, CT, school shooting.

The SAFE Act was irrational in many respects, including a 7-round magazine limit that was unworkable and ultimately thrown out by the courts, a requirement that even 10-round magazines not be loaded with more than 7 bullets, and a definition of “Assault Weapon” that relied on physical characteristics that were cosmetic and common.

The SAFE Act has led to a rebellion by upstate county legislatures, almost all of whom have voted to reject the SAFE Act. Even Martha Robertson, the liberal Emily’s List-backed Democratic challenger in my home NY-23 congressional District, says she is against the SAFE Act. The criminalization of otherwise law-abiding people has led numerous Sheriffs and police unions to call for repeal, and to ignore violations for now.

But the SAFE Act remains the law of NY. Would this Detroit mom who save herself and her family from the violence of the armed intruders herself be a criminal in NY because of her rifle?

I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough about weapons, so I turned to someone who does have that knowledge, Bob Owens, Editor of BearingArms.com. Bob explains in the text below, which he forwarded to me, that the rifle would be an illegal “Assault Weapon” under the SAFE Act, not available for new purchase and required to be registered by April 1 for those who owned it prior to the SAFE Act. In NY State, this mom would be a criminal because of cosmetic features of her rifle.

Here is Bob’s analysis:

This firearm used by the mother as reflected in the video is the Hi-Point 995TS. It is a pistol-caliber carbine, chambered in 9x19mm caliber. It weighs 6.25 pounds empty, uses a proprietary 10-round magazine. It uses a simple semiautomatic action that fires one shot per trigger pull. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for this model is $285, making it far cheaper than many handguns. For this reason, it is often chosen as a home defense firearm buy people on a tight budget.

hp995

The incident is regarded as a near textbook case of an armed citizen defending herself in her home against criminals, using an inexpensive carbine designed for precisely this sort of short range defensive scenario.

It is also a scenario that will soon be impossible in New York, thanks to that state’s “assault weapons” laws banning citizens from purchasing this and similarly effective home-defense arms.

While the Hi-Point 995 was specifically designed to comply with the federal assault weapons ban passed in 1994 (a law that expired ten years later in 2004), New York’s assault weapons laws have gone beyond that, culminating in the NY SAFE Act.

The SAFE Act expanded New York’s existing “assault weapons” ban:

Section 37 of the bill amends Penal Law § 265.00(22) in order to strengthen New York’s assault weapon ban, expanding its reach and making it easier to enforce. The proposed amendments replace the existing ban consisting of and a “two-feature” test adopted from the now-expired federal assault weapons ban with a clearer “one-feature” test. The “two-feature” test bans any gun that is semi-automatic, has a detachable magazine (in the case of pistols and rifles), and possesses two features that are commonly associated with military weapons. The “one-feature” test would ban semi-automatic guns with detachable magazines that possess one feature commonly associated with military weapons. This section also adds to the list of “features” that characterize a banned weapon.

Penal Law § 265.00(22) defines that list of features affecting a rifle like the Hi-Point 995 as follows:

(a) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following characteristics:

(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
(iii) a thumbhole stock;
(iv) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand;
(v) a bayonet mount;
(vi) a flash suppressor, muzzle break, muzzle compensator, or threaded barrel designed to
accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle break, or muzzle compensator;

The Hi-Point 995 is a semiautomatic rifle with the ability to accept detachable magazine, and has “one feature” in the characteristics list (a pistol grip). It is now defined as an “assault weapon” under New York law.

It is worth noting that none of the characteristics that New York legislators have chosen to list as features affect the accuracy, rate-of-fire, or ability to reload any firearm. Unfortunately, the removal of some of the banned features (pistol grips, thumbhole stocks, second handgrip, etc) make it more difficult for some disabled individuals to efficiently use these firearms, including our combat-wounded.

Young families in New York can no longer buy, sell, or trade inexpensive home defense carbines such as the Hi-Point 995 in the State of New York. Anyone currently in possession of such a firearm must register it with the State by April 1, or they will be considered a criminal.

In addition to the restrictions on the rifle used in this incident, the NY Safe Act also bans the family from using a fully-loaded standard-capacity magazine, and insists that the firearm must use a downloaded magazine containing just seven rounds of ammunition:

Section 38 of the bill amends Penal Law § 265.00(23) to ban all large capacity magazines that have the capacity to hold more than ten rounds of ammunition including those that were grandfathered in under the original assault weapons ban and creates a new ban on magazines that hold more than seven rounds of ammunition. Magazines that can hold more than seven rounds but not more than ten rounds and are currently possessed will be grandfathered in, but may only contain seven rounds of ammunition. Exceptions are made for large capacity magazines that are curios or relics.

Putting just one more cartridge into the grandfathered magazine turns a law-abiding citizen into a criminal in New York State. Yes, it is absurd. Yes, it is completely arbitrary. Still, it is the law.

Detroit Mom Rifle Defend Home Invaders