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Firearms manufacturer ends sales to New York in wake of new gun law

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Jan. 15, 2013: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks after signing New York's Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act into law in Albany, N.Y.AP

In response to the passage of New York's sweeping new gun law, a Washington state-based firearms manufacturer has decided to stop selling their products in the Empire State.

Olympic Arms, a manufacturer of semiautomatic rifles and AR-15-style firearms, announced Tuesday it will no longer be doing business in New York as a result of the state's new ban on assault-style weapons, according to the Times Union.

The company explained its decision in a post on its Facebook page: "Legislation recently passed in the State of New York outlaws the AR15 and many other firearms, and will make it illegal for the good and free citizens of New York to own a large selection of legal and safe firearms and magazines. We feel as though the passage of this legislation exceeds the authority granted to the government of New York by its citizens, and violates the Constitution of the United States."

New York Gov. Cuomo last month signed into law tough legislation aimed at strengthening state laws on assault weapons, gun-magazine capacity and reporting potential harmful behavior. Though the law allows law enforcement agencies to purchase assault-style weapons, Olympic says it will no longer serve the state's first responders.

"It didn't make sense that citizens can't have what police departments have," Brian Schuetz, Olympic's president and co-owner, told the Times Union.

The law also restricts ammunition magazines from 10 to seven bullets and current owners of higher-capacity magazines have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.

The family-run company's decision to pull out of New York will likely have little impact on police departments, John Grebert, the Executive Director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, told the paper.

Still, news of the withdrawal triggered a public outcry on social media. Olympic's Facebook post announcing the decision had over 7,500 "likes" as of Saturday afternoon.

Schuetz told the Times Union he was surprised at the level of attention the announcement has received from the media and online.

"It wasn't meant to be a big statement," he told the paper.

Olympic's decision comes on the heels of last week's major demonstration at the state Capitol in Albany, where about 500 opponents of the new gun control law rallied in support of their constitutional right to bear arms while a smaller group inside praised lawmakers for backing the law.

Gun rights' advocates, who criticized Cuomo and legislators who enacted the law last month, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the national anthem and took a collective oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

The group Turn Albany Upside Down, a rally organizer, said both the quick passage of the measure and some provisions are unlawful. They called the seven-bullet limit on magazines "arbitrary and capricious."

Inside the Capitol, about 75 members of One Million Moms for Gun Control and other groups thanked Cuomo and lawmakers for leadership in setting gun limits they expect to help reduce violence. 

They filled a staircase and cheered speakers, including Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, who said the law's provisions to prevent private gun sales without a background check, ban assault weapons, require pistol license renewals and restrict gun access by the mentally ill won't be repealed or watered down.

Cuomo cited the December killings of 20 first-graders and six educators at a Connecticut elementary school as one of his motivations for pushing the gun legislation. 

Authorities have said the troubled 20-year-old shooter used a semi-automatic rifle and had large detachable magazines. Those rifles are illegal under New York's law if they have one military-style feature such as a pistol grip, flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The law calls for registration of formerly legal guns like the popular AR-15 now classified as an illegal assault weapon that can't be bought or sold in New York.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here for more from the Times Union.