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New York reviewing changes to recently passed gun law

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo talks about the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in Albany, New York January 15, 2013.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo talks about the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in Albany, New York January 15, 2013.

By Daniel Wiessner

ALBANY, New York (Reuters) - New York state lawmakers are considering amendments to the state's sweeping new gun control law, including repealing a ban on magazines that hold more than seven bullets, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday, describing most of the changes as technical.

The law, passed January 15, a month after the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, also requires gun owners to register most guns with the state and requires universal background checks.

The first gun control law passed in the United States following the December 14 mass shooting that killed 20 school children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, the measure has drawn fierce criticism from pro-gun groups and some lawmakers.

Cuomo and legislators have been discussing "technical corrections" to the law, the governor told a news conference.

A provision banning magazines that hold more than seven bullets beginning April 15 would likely be repealed, as magazines generally hold 10 bullets.

"There is no such thing as a seven-bullet magazine," Cuomo said.

Under the proposal, gun owners would be barred from loading more than seven bullets at a time, he said, unless they are at a shooting range or participating in a competition.

Some lawmakers and law enforcement officials have called for amendments exempting active and retired police officers from the law. Cuomo did not specify what other amendments were being considered but said any changes would be "technical corrections."

"I am not open to any substantive changes to the law, period," he said.

Cuomo also responded to complaints that the law was passed in haste with no public input, leading to errors and oversights. That criticism is at the heart of a pending lawsuit in which a non-profit group, We the People of New York, Inc, claims the law is invalid because the legislature bypassed the mandatory three-day waiting period to vote on bills.

"The gun bill was worked on for weeks and weeks and weeks," Cuomo said.

Colorado on Wednesday became the second state to enact restrictions after the Newtown shooting when Governor John Hickenlooper signed legislation that will expand background checks and ban magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

At least three lawsuits have been filed against New York's new law. The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, is also planning to file suit, according to the group's president.

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Dan Grebler)

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