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New York bill to limit ammunition purchases applies only to assault weapons

October 24, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: A New York bill would make it a felony to buy more than 20 rounds of ammunition over a six month period.

AP ASSESSMENT: Mixed. Bill A-01724 in the New York State legislature would limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased for an assault weapon during a 120 day period.

THE FACTS: A post circulating on Facebook claims that New York bill A-01724 “would make it a felony to buy more than 20 rounds of ammo.” The post, which features a photo of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, does not note that the bill applies only to assault weapons and misstates the time period between purchases.

“Cuomo’s allies will resume their goal of making you a FELON for buying more than 20 rounds of ammo per 6 months, next session! This is not a joke, this bill is real!,” The New York State Firearms Association, a gun rights group, stated in the post.

The bill, introduced as an act to amend the penal law last January, is currently in committee. If passed, ammunition purchases for assault weapons will be limited to two times the weapon’s capacity over a 120 day period, about four months. Ammunition sales for other types of guns are not restricted. “Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prevent, or interfere in any way with, the sale of ammunition for revolvers or pistols of any kind, or for rifles, shot guns, or other arms,” according to the bill.

New York state law has defined an “assault weapon,” as a semiautomatic rifle that has the ability to attach a magazine, among other design characteristics. Most assault weapons were banned in New York in 2013. Democratic Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, a sponsor of the bill, said this bill would only impact people who owned these weapons before 2013.

“A convenient and glaring omission in the gun lobby’s description of my bill is that it only limits ammunition purchases for lethal military-style assault weapons,” Simon said in an email statement to the AP.

Cuomo has long clashed with the National Rifle Association. The NRA gave Cuomo an “F” rating on guns, calling him a “true enemy of gun rights.”

Aaron Dorr, a member of the firearms association, said in an email to the AP that the organization would correct the time frame in future posts, noting the legislation “is even worse than our Facebook page indicates.” He did not address the issue of the law applying only to assault weapons.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536