Police in Utica, NY, made their first arrest under the New York SAFE Act, after a man allegedly fired multiple shots in a public park.  Derek Miller, 24, was arrested after shooting a Smith & Wesson M&P .223 rifle that was equipped with a pistol grip, which is illegal under the NY SAFE Act. Miller told police he was just “target shooting” in the park.

Evidence recovered from the Utica park shooter.

Evidence recovered from the Utica park shooter.

The NY SAFE Act, enacted in January, 2013, strengthened New York’s assault weapons ban by creating a stricter definition of an assault weapon. Under the new definition, semi-automatic pistols and rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and that have at least one military-style-feature are considered assault weapons.

The pistol grip on the Utica shooter’s weapon–which makes the weapon easier to aim and control–is considered a military-style feature so is illegal under the NY SAFE Act.

“We’re pleased that the NY SAFE Act is doing its job keeping New Yorkers safe from gun violence,” said Leah Gunn Barrett, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

NY-SAFE-logo-croppedAnti-gun-safety groups such as the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the state’s arm of the National Rifle Association (NRA), have filed several lawsuits to overturn the law.  “NYAGV will continue to fight to defend NY SAFE and ensure its successful implementation,” Barrett added.  (Click here for NYAGV’s post on one of the failed challenges to the NY SAFE Act.)