New York is one of the premiere hunting destinations in the United States. The SAFE Act will have no impact on most hunters in New York, nor will it detract in any way from the state’s rich tradition of hunting.
Initiatives are under way to support and expand hunting opportunities for hunters in our state. Governor Cuomo announced NY’s Open for Hunting and Fishing program in an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am a hunter. Will the SAFE Act affect which firearms I may use to hunt?
A: Generally, no. Other than limiting the magazine capacity to ten rounds, the SAFE Act places no additional burdens on hunters.
Q: I am a duck hunter. Will my shotgun be affected?
A: No. A plug reducing the capacity of some shotguns to 3 rounds is required by federal and state migratory fowl hunting requirements and was not imposed by the SAFE Act. You might need to register your semi-automatic shotgun as an Assault Weapon — click here to see if your shotgun needs to be registered. (Most commercially available semi-automatic shotguns are not Assault Weapons.)
Q: I am a deer hunter, but I don’t use a semi-automatic rifle. Are there any limitations on my hunting because of the SAFE Act?
A: There are only limitations in your magazine capacity. You may not load more than ten rounds in any rifle magazine. This applies to all manually-operated rifles, including bolt action, lever action and pump action rifles.
Q: But aren’t hunters already limited to loading 5 rounds?
A: Before the SAFE Act, hunters were limited to having 5 rounds in a magazine and 1 round in the chamber when it came to certain guns. The 5-round restriction [under the state’s Environmental Conservation Law] only applies to center-fire, semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns, and semi-automatic pistols having 8 inch or longer barrels. This was not altered by the SAFE Act.
Q: I shoot a lever action rifle that chambers a pistol cartridge (such as 44 Magnum or 45 Colt). My rifle’s tubular magazine holds 10 rounds. Can I load the magazine to capacity?
A: You may load up to a capacity of 10.
Q: Can I still buy 10 round magazines for my Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle that I use to hunt small game?
A: Yes. You can continue to buy the 10/22 and the replacement magazines.
Q: I hunt deer with a pistol. Am I affected by the SAFE Act?
A: Most hunting handguns are not affected by the SAFE Act. However, if you want to see if your pistol is an assault weapon, click here.
Q: Aren't muzzle compensators used to reduce recoil on many hunting rifles?
A: Yes, and there are no restrictions on their use on manually-operated rifles or semi-automatic rifles with fixed magazines. However, if you have a muzzle compensator on a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine, you may need to register it as an Assault Weapon if it can accept a detachable magazine capable of holding more than 5 rounds.
Q: I hunt with a semi-automatic rifle. Five round magazines are too expensive, so I blocked one magazine with a wood insert so it would only accept 5 rounds. On the other magazine I inserted a machine screw so the follower wouldn’t move far enough to accept a 6th round. May I still do that?
A: If the unaltered magazine capacity is 10 rounds or fewer, yes. However, any magazine that has a capacity greater than 10 rounds must be permanently modified so that it may only contain 10 rounds.