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Just as New York's draconian and some argue unconstitutional assault weapons ban kicked into effect last month, one of the largest firearms museums in the country received a Ruger SR556 in the mail from an Empire State resident for safekeeping.

The problem

View attachment 11021
(Gov.Andrew Cuomo signing the SAFE Act in 2013, AP photo)

With the type of lightning speed only reserved for flawed ideas, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Democratically led New York legislature rushed through a collection of bills known as the NY SAFE Act in early 2013.

This limited magazine size for semi-automatics to 7 rounds (which was later overturned to 10 by a federal judge), introduced controls for ammunition sales, enhanced background check requirements, and reclassified the state's definition of an "assault rifle" to any that was semi-automatic, had a detachable magazine, and *any* of the following features:

1.Threaded barrels
2.Grenade launcher
3.Forward pistol grip
4.Folding or telescoping stock
5.Protruding pistol grip
6.Thumbhole stock
7.Bayonet mount
8.Flash suppressor/muzzle break/muzzle compensator

As such, every New Yorker in the state that had a gun fitting that description had to, by April 15, 2014, move the gun out of state, turn it it, destroy it, modify it to no longer have any of the above features, or register it. Also, no new so-called 'assault weapons' could be sold after that date.

This left owners of Ruger SR-556 rifles in New York looking at having to make a decision as to what to do with their gun since these models had at least features #4 and #5 while some, (as well as some models of Mini-14 and Mini-30 rifles), may have had still more 'illegal' features.

View attachment 11023
Steve Albright's SR-556 (Photo credit: National Firearms Museum)

One collector's solution

In mid-April, with the ban looming and deadline to modify, register, destroy, or move out of state legally owned 'assault weapons,' NRA and New York State Rifle and Pistol Association member Steve Albright shipped his SR-556 to the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. The NRA who maintains both the National Firearms Museum as well as its cousin, the National Sporting Arms Museum in Springfield, Missouri, own the collection on behalf of its members.

Albright's SR-556 It was packed securely and enclosed with a note explaining the donation, saying:

"I know it is a bit strange to send this to you, but the deadline on the NY SAFE Act is looming over me. The best thing I could think of to keep my family out of harm's way but still oppose the registration and the SAFE Act was to donate this Ruger SR 556 to the NRA,

Hopefully (it can be used) ... to oppose these unconstitutional laws that are being thrown at us."

What now

When museum staff received Albright's gun, they were taken aback briefly, being the first gun, they received from New York due to the SAFE Act.

"It was quite a surprise," said Senior Curator Douglas Wicklund. "A welcome surprise, but a surprise nonetheless."

View attachment 11022
Steve Albright's SR-556 (Photo credit: National Firearms Museum)

Albright's SR is now added to the immense collection of the National Firearms Museum, which, founded in 1935, is open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday but Christmas and features free admission to view the vast treasures on hand including firearms of no less than six American presidents, 12 U.S. general officers and six foreign heads of state.

While the museum has more than a dozen galleries, we have a hint that it may find itself located one day in the William B Ruger special exhibits section (call it a hunch)

View attachment 11020
(The National Firearms Museum is home to an extensive collection that would take several trips to even start to see all of)

As for the SAFE Act itself, it is still mired in legal challenges and unless those challenges are successful or the legislation is repealed, it is the law of the land in New York.

Moreover, as such, after April 15, 2014, there can be no new classic Ruger SR556s registered in the state.
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