Gov Andrew Cuomo's definition of an assault weapon
“I say to you forget the extremists. It’s simple — no one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer and too many people have died already,” Cuomo said.No, but you can need that many bullets for self-defense. The problem is that once a gun can take a magazine, it can take a magazine of any size. Magazines are simple metal boxes with a spring in them and they are very easy to make and they soon may become even easier. Might as well ban all semi-automatic guns that accept magazines. Problem is that would limit people's ability to defend themselves.
Jacob Sullum has a nice discussion here.
It is not clear what the Times means by "high-powered rifles." The definition of "assault weapon" has nothing to do with caliber, muzzle velocity, firing rate, or the number of rounds that can be fired before reloading (although a separate provision of New York's law bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds if they were made after September 13, 1994, as did the federal law). The reference to "high-powered rifles" suggests that "assault weapons" are distinguished by their killing capacity, which is not true, since their defining characteristics are essentially aesthetic. To muddy matters further, the Times says manufacturers who obey legislators' dictates concerning the appearance of their guns "have altered their products to circumvent the law," which makes no sense at all when you think about it. The law says you can't sell a rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has two or more of those five suspect features, so manufacturers stopped selling such rifles in New York. That is complying with the law, not circumventing it. . . .Further note.
New York's effort was hastened further by the Christmas Eve killings of two firefighters in western New York by a man who set his neighborhood on fire, lay in wait with a high-powered rifle for responders, shot them and killed himself. Webster residents related to the firefighters were honored guests at the State of State address. . . .Notice that as a convicted felon it was illegal for the shooter in Webster to have any guns.