A Gannett article appearing on USAToday.com alleges that a recently enacted New York law limiting firearm magazine capacity to seven rounds will effectively render handguns inoperable, claiming no manufacturers produce magazines with a seven-round capacity. This reporting is gaining steam in the right-wing blogosphere, even as a quick web search reveals numerous options for purchasing magazines with a seven or less round capacity.
According to the article, which originally appeared in the Gannett-owned (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, “as far as local gun dealers and the Democrat and Chronicle have been able to determine, there are no manufacturers planning to make seven-round magazines” and that when New York's new magazine law goes into effect on April 15, dealers “can only sell something that doesn't exist yet”:
Starting April 15, New York will have the smallest gun magazine limit in the country, and all signs indicate no gun makers have plans to accommodate it.
Gun manufacturers have never had a reason to make a magazine with fewer than 10 rounds, because no state required it until now. And, as far as local gun dealers and the Democrat and Chronicle have been able to determine, there are no manufacturers planning to make seven-round magazines.
This means that in less than two months, gun dealers such as Paul Martin, owner of Pro-Gun Services in Victor, can only sell something that doesn't exist yet.
A search on firearms accessories supplier Brownells' website reveals 51 options for purchasing magazines with a 5, 6 or 7 round capacity. Magazines for popular firearms brands offered by Brownells include Springfield, Glock, Colt, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Ruger, and Sig Sauer. In fact, the seven-round magazine is the third most popular configuration offered by Brownells, with only eight- and 10-round magazines offering more options.
The Democrat and Chronicle notes that most gun manufacturers it reached out to for comment, including Brownells, Glock, Smith & Weston and Pro Mag Industries, did not or declined to respond. However, on its website, Brownells indicates that it sells seven-round Smith & Wesson and Pro Mag magazines. A six-round magazine is also offered by Glock.
In fact, the claim that seven-round magazines do not exist is refuted by the article itself, which notes that magazine manufacturer Metalform, “does make magazines for 1911-style pistols in a seven-round capacity.”
While a seven-round magazine option does not exist for every handgun in existence, gun or magazine manufacturers could develop new magazines to comply with New York's law. Any claims to the contrary by manufacturers should be treated skeptically by reporters, as manufacturers fiercely opposed reforms to New York's gun laws.
The false claim that seven-round magazines do not exist has already been credulously repeated by Jim Hoft on his Gateway Pundit blog, who wrote, “Now the whole state can be defenseless except for the criminals.” Conspiracy website InfoWars.com also cited the reporting to claim that New York's magazine “will effectively outlaw most firearms in the state. The law mandates a seven round maximum capacity for ammunition magazines and there are currently no manufacturers producing seven round magazines.”
UPDATE: The Democrat and Chronicle article has been updated, with the following note appended to it:
A previous version of this story may have been unclear about which types of weapons were being discussed, and should have been made clear that seven-round magazines do exist for certain types of weapons. Rochester-area firearms experts contacted for the story do say that seven-round magazines are rare and hard to come by for the most popular weapons used by sports enthusiasts, thus leaving anyone who wants to buy these guns in a bind come April 16.