I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t receive an email regarding the NY Safe Act.
Those who have enjoyed their modern sporting rifle, the proper name of what the Safe Act recently defined as an AR weapon, are running out of time to register it by April 15. The regulation states: “Anyone who lawfully possesses a weapon on or before Jan. 15, 2013, that has been redefined as an assault weapon by the Safe Act may keep that weapon, provided the person registers the weapon by April 15, 2014.”
Once registered, you can keep the AR for life, but there are no exceptions that allow a person to transfer an AR to an immediate family member; only to a police officer, firearms dealer or person of another state where possession of the AR would be lawful. Time is getting short.
Several years ago, I tested, hunted and foolishly returned Remington’s new R-25 modular repeating .308-caliber rifle. I was quite happy with its accuracy and performance, and it rewarded me with a nice 200-plus-pound black bear.
That rifle is no longer legal in New York state because it has a “pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.” That is the only reason. Unfortunately, I recently fell in love with a DPMS .308-caliber Lite Hunter modern sporting rifle (AR weapon, according to the Safe Act) that was hanging on the wall in Zack’s Sports in Round Lake.
The gun caught my eye, but I laughed at its unusual stock. It’s not the normal pistol grip that you find on these rifles. It was definitely different, but when I shouldered it, I was surprised at how comfortable and easy it pointed. I was even more surprised (and hooked) when I saw that it was for sale. I just assumed that all
AR-style guns could no longer be sold in the state due to the restriction listed in the NY Safe Act’s description of an AR weapon. But I found out that was not the case. According to Zack, this stock, the FRS-15 Thordsen Custom, makes it legal.
That afternoon, as soon as I got home, I found the Thordsen Custom Company on the internet, called them and spoke with their president, Alan Thordsen. I also set up a meeting with him at the Shot Show the following week. On their website, I found a separate NY SAFE Compliant section with a statement by their legal counsel. Here’s what the statement says:
“As witnessed by legal counsel retained by Thordsen Custom L.L.C and in cooperation with legal counsel representing The Gun Shop at McGregor’s in Lake Luzerne, New York. Authorities representing the New York State Police Division Counsel’s Office and she Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York have said that the FRS-15 Rifle Stock, when installed on a semiautomatic center-fire rifle with no other restricted features listed in the New York Safe Act, does not meet the definition of an “assault weapon” and does not require mandatory registration.
In order to comply with the NY Safe Act, the conversion from a pistol grip to an FRS-15 stock should not be readily convertible or easily able to be reversed back to the pistol grip configuration. Although it’s not required by law, a method demonstrating permanence (as suggested by New York authorities) is to fill the screw head or cavity with epoxy, silicone-based caulk or other permanent sealant.
I made several attempts to get an opinion from the New York State Police, and they said they had heard about the Thordsen stock, but did not have any comment, pro or con, on it.
After my Shot Show meeting with Thordsen, I spoke with Jessica Kallam, press relations manager of Remington Arms, and Adam Ballard, product manager of DPMS/Panther Arms (both members of the Freedom Group), and told them about Thorden’s stock and they agreed to send the stock to DMPS, which would attach it to “my” DPMS Lite Hunter. When completed, the DPMS would be sent to my FFL dealer, Paul Galcik of Olde Saratoga Shooting Supply. When received, I’ll go to the dealer and complete the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and Paul will call in my information and get the OK to deliver the gun to me. Unfortunately, that gun is at Paul’s shop now until the first week in April, when we return from Florida.
Why the DPMS?
As I mentioned earlier, I was happy with my testing of the Remington R-25 in the past, and I believe it was made by DPMS. I chose this model for several reasons. At the Shot Show’s media day at the range this year, I got to shoot a number of these AR-style guns, and the DPMS was not only right on target, but significantly lighter than the others, something that as a hunter, I like.
Other favorable features include it’s semi-auto, with a 20-inch, lightweight 416 blackened stainless-steel barrel with 1x10 right-hand twist and target crown and a lightweight aluminum upper and lower receiver. The overall measurement is 39.25 inches, and total weight is 7.99 pounds. Based on how the DPMS I shot at the Shot Show performed, I’m sure it’ll be quite accurate. The other reason is that when properly fitted with the Thordsen Customs FRS-15 Stock, it’s legal in New York.
Isn’t it strange that just by changing the stock and pistol grip design, which actually has nothing to do with the shooting abilities of this modern sporting rifle, it is now considered legal in New York? According to the New York firearms dealers, their attorneys and the state attorneys, the gun is no longer considered an “assault weapon,” but rather a regular rifle that doesn’t require registration. It still shoots the same. The only difference is its appearance. Go figure.
For those of you who have a so-called AR weapon that you purchased before Jan. 15 last year, I remind you that according to the NY Safe Act, you’re required to registered it by April 15.
However, with what I have learned about the Thordsen stock, you may not have to. Before you do anything, make absolutely sure your gun’s pistol grip is the only thing on the list that makes it an “assault weapon.” To be sure, Google “NY State Police Guide to Safe Act.” The configurations are listed on page 3. If it’s just the pistol grip, you might want to contact a gun dealer who can order the FRS-15 stock and install it properly.
Now if you want to enjoy one of these modern sporting rifles, stop at a gun shop that can order your rifle with the FRS-15 already installed by the manufacturer or have the dealer order and install it properly. But remember, they will not/cannot sell you one of these if there are other configurations such as bayonet mount, flash suppressor, etc.
The Shooter Committee on Political Education is asking you to join them April 1, when they visit the governor to demand a full repeal of the Safe Act. You’ll hear your elective representatives argue against the Act. Buses will be leaving from all parts of New York state. For more information, go to www.scopeny.org/april-1st/.