ALBANY, N.Y. — About 44,500 assault weapons have been registered in New York since a new gun-control law was enacted in 2013, records released by State Police to a gun-rights group this week showed.
The Shooters Committee on Public Education, a gun-rights group based in western New York, successfully sued after the state declined to release the details. Now the group claims that the statistics showed what it suspected: Few gun owners are complying with the SAFE Act adopted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature in January 2013.
The total number of applications to register assault-style weapons — some applications involved more than one gun — in New York was 25,536.
“The majority of gun owners and sportsmen in New York have absolutely no respect for this law,” said Stephen Aldstadt, SCOPE’s president.
The group said that estimates have shown that there are about 1 million assault-style weapons in New York, so if that’s the case, about 4% were registered as required under the SAFE Act. But gun-control advocates said there is no way of knowing how many assault-style weapons exist in New York.
About 43% of the registered weapons were in New York City and its suburbs, including the Hudson Valley, the records showed.
By county the most registrations by far were in Suffolk County on Long Island, at 7,300.
Upstate, 2,476 weapons were registered in Erie County as of earlier this month. In Monroe County, there were 2,201 assault-style weapons registered under the law.
The SAFE Act has been widely panned by gun-rights groups, particularly upstate, after it was enacted following the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012.
Paloma Capanna, a Rochester-area lawyer who represented the gun-rights group,noted that about 50,000 assault-style weapons were registered in Connecticut in 2013 after its assault-weapons law was enacted. New York’s population is more than five times as large as Connecticut’s.
The lawsuit seeking the data was filed on behalf of Bill Robinson, a Penfield gun-rights activist.
Cuomo has hailed the SAFE ACT, saying it has limited the availability of illegal guns and required mental-health officials to report any suspicious activity of gun owners in their care. Gun owners are also required to re-register their weapons every five years, starting in 2018.
Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, praised the 45,000 registrations that have occurred and implored more gun owners to do the same.
“I don’t know how SCOPE measures a handful, but I would think it would be difficult to hold 45,000 assault weapons in one hand,” she said in a statement. “This is only evidence of how long overdue the SAFE Act was. The fact is, we don’t know how many of these weapons are out there. The law does not require individuals to surrender their assault weapons, merely to register them.”
A Siena College poll last month found that 62% of voters supported the SAFE Act.
The Republican-led Senate approved changes to the SAFE Act on June 8, such as repealing a requirement that every purchaser of ammunition undergo a background check.
But Cuomo and Assembly Democrats did not agree to any changes to the law as part of a final legislative package set for approval this week.
This article was written by USAToday.com.and originally appeared on