On December 14, 2012, mainstream media reported a mentally disturbed individual by the name of Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire. Reports stated Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adults, but not before shooting his own mother at their shared residence nearby.
There were several baffling aspects to the case with the top two being an unidentified man in the woods being placed under arrest and Lanza’s alleged weapon changing back and forth between an assault rifle (AR) and a bolt-action rifle. The man in the woods was later purported to be either a father searching for his child or a SWAT officer, neither of which made sense when compared to the description given by the media in initial reports. As for Lanza’s firearm of choice, the media waffled between the AR being in the trunk of his car and being used in the actual crime; back and forth they went, until it was impossible to decipher reality.
Moving with impressive speed considering the usual snail’s pace of our lawmakers, the state of New York came out with new gun control measures in record time with the actual act – the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013 – being signed into law January 15, 2013. Just one month and one day past the anniversary of Sandy Hook, state senator Martin Golden had sponsored the legislation, the senate passed it, and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it just 30 minutes after it passed the legislature. The act included multiple provisions, including:
- Maximum mag capacity of 10 rounds; took effect April 15, 2013.
- Assault weapon registry; owners of such weapons had to register between April 15, 2013, and April 15, 2014.
- Background checks for all firearms sales, including private sales; took effect March 15, 2013. Only sales to immediate family members are exempt.
- Registered assault weapons and pistol permit holders required to renew at least every 5 years.
- Background checks for ammunition purchases with internet sales being shipped to a licensed dealer for pickup. Scheduled for a January 15, 2014, start, but met significant delays due to lack of “seamless” technology to enforce the law.
- Assault weapon definition broadened: instead of being allowed two “evil” features, now only one is allowed.
As part of the NY “evil” feature ban, AR’s cannot have more than one of the following features: pistol grip, forward grip, barrel shroud, threaded barrel, and folding, telescopic, or detachable stocks. Also banned are features previously created as workarounds for prior bans: thumbhole stocks, bullet buttons, and bump or slide-fire stocks. In response, firearms manufacturers have been working to create an AR that is NY compliant while still somewhat appealing to firearms owners. One result comes from Black Rain Ordnance in the form of their NY-compliant AR-15, the BRO-PG5-NY.
Black Rain is known for quality rifles, and this one is no exception; the single “evil” feature allowed on the significantly neutered gun is a 10-round Magpul PMAG. They use the same unusual-appearing stock – the FRS-15 – originally created to comply with California’s tough laws. And, of course, the muzzle device can’t be altered, and just to be sure, they welded it in place not once, but twice. The rifle also features their Let it Rain ejection port dust cover as well as a quality trigger. And, in their advertisement, they let a little attitude slip, saying they use their “lo-pro gas block without the ‘evil’ bayonet lugs,” making it clear even a firearms manufacturer can have a sense of humor.
Of course, what avid shooters everywhere want to know is, how does it shoot? The most common complaint from men and women alike seems to be related to that otherworldly-looking FRS-15 stock; thanks to the NY laws, it has to be fixed, which means no ability to adjust to each shooter’s reach. Although it’s still possible to position your thumb around the back, there’s one small problem: reaching the trigger. If you have large hands or long fingers, it won’t bother you as much, but that trigger’s going to be a stretch for quite a few people. Check out Nick Leghorn’s review from May.
Many of the changes made by Black Rain and other manufacturers, such as Stag Arms, are simply cosmetic. Critics who demanded a crack-down on so-called assault weapons say that means New York’s SAFE Act is nothing but window dressing, now that law-compliant rifles are hitting the market. It would seem those critics fail to see the irony in their complaints since, for years, gun rights advocates have been trying to explain that the rifles considered “assault” weapons by the anti-gun crowd are anything but. Just goes to show that gun control advocates don’t actually understand the inner workings of firearms, but they sure do know a “scary” semi-automatic rifle when they see one!
Overall, what matters is where you live. If you live in an area affected by such stringent laws, purchasing one of these New York SAFE Act-compliant rifles is your best bet. That way, at least you can have a gelded version of the ever-popular AR-15. After all, although some reviewers suggested issues with grouping, they also admitted it’s probably just an issue of getting used to the unusual grip. With a little practice, you’ll have the hang of Black Rain’s BRO-PG5-NY in no time. In fact, Black Rain now has 16 NY-compliant rifles for sale, so you have your choice of calibers.
Just a side note for the AR-ban-happy crowd: according to the FBI, far more people are killed each year with hammers and clubs than with rifles. Better yet, twice as many people are killed annually by assailants using their own hands and feet than by those using rifles. In Japan, where gun control reigns supreme, knife attacks result in high body counts, even higher than Sandy Hook. And in the UK, Brits are proposing a ban on pointy kitchen knives after their own similar gun control laws have led to surges in knife attacks. Regardless of the laws of government, people will continue to find new ways to harm one another; however, if people are armed, they can protect themselves and others, including law enforcement officers. And, yes, even assault rifles save lives.
As George Washington once said, “a free people ought to be armed,” and he didn’t have a list of what features were and were not to be allowed, either. If you’re a 2nd Amendment supporter in New York, don’t give up on the AR; this Black Rain Ordnance BRO-PG5-NY’s for you.
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