New Yorker Arrested for Loading 10 Bullets into 10-Round Magazine, Three More Than Limit

October 18th, 2013

Earlier this year when New York passed a law that limited semi-automatic magazines to seven bullets, even if it could hold ten, I laughed out loud. I wrote, “This is absolutely insane. Are police going to go around and count the number of rounds in a magazine? This is laughable.”

I should really have learned not to doubt the depths of New York’s insanity.

Jacob Gershman writes in WSJ Law Blog that a New Yorker was arrested for loading ten bullets into a 10-round magazine.

An upstate New York man was arrested for violating the state’s new gun law. What makes this case unusual is that the gun in question was legal and wasn’t involved in a crime. The man faces up to a year in prison for loading it with too many bullets.

Paul Wojdan was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for speeding in the city of Lockport, N.Y., last weekend after a brief chase, according to the Buffalo News. Law Blog couldn’t immediately reach him for comment.

After the officer inquired if there were any weapons inside the vehicle, the man handed over a holstered gun from the glove compartment. Mr. Wojdan had a permit for the gun, the newspaper reported. But he was taken into custody after the officer inspected the magazine and saw that it contained 10 rounds of ammunition, exceeding the legal limit by three bullets.

Under the New York Safe Act, a package of stricter gun restrictions approved this year, it’s legal to possess a magazine that can store 10 rounds of ammunition, but that magazine may not be loaded with more than seven rounds.

The 26-year-old man was charged with unlawful possession of an ammunition-feeding device.

So remember. Two magazines with 7 bullets is fine. One magazine with 10 is illegal. Count carefully.

This may be another reason why people are leaving places like New York for Texas.

And more from SHG:

No, Wojdan is not the person we had in mind when the law was enacted. No, we won’t sleep any better knowing that Wojdan was arrested.  No, we will not feel that society is any safer by saddling Wojdan with a criminal conviction. In fact, it’s all pretty nuts.

But this is the law passed in the heat of passion following the Newtown tragedy. And Wojdan broke this law.  If you have a problem with it, your problem is with the law and the processes that drive the creation of laws to prevent these sorts of tragedies. While they wouldn’t have any meaningful impact on anyone bent on doing the harm the law exists to prevent, they will have dire consequences for the people who, for whatever dopey reason, violate it without any ill-intent whatsoever.

Then again, there will also be people who will care nothing about Wojdan’s arrest or even his subsequent conviction, because it’s the price that must be paid to avenge the Newtown shooting and prevent it from ever happening again. It won’t, of course, and the paradox of concern and callousness is apparent, but they will be the righteous voices calling for new crimes when the next tragedy happens.

Update: Jacob Sullum has more from Reason (11/6/13).