Reenacting and Gun Control

January 31, 2013 - 4 Comments

by Jim Barnes


As many of you know, it is the policy of this blog to avoid political discussions. Frankly, many of us, including myself, are sick to death of politics. However, there are some topics that have a direct bearing on living history and reenacting, and gun control is a primary example. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Governor Cuomo of New York rushed a draconian gun control bill through the state legislature which may have a severe effect on WWII and other twentieth century impressions. According to the  ‘USACarry” website, the law “amends Penal Law � 265.00(23) to ban all large capacity magazines that have the capacity to hold more than ten rounds of ammunition including those that were grandfathered in under the original assault weapons ban and creates a new ban on magazines that hold more than seven rounds of ammunition. Magazines that can hold more than seven rounds but not more than ten rounds and are currently possessed will be grandfathered in, but may only contain seven rounds of ammunition. Exceptions are made for large capacity magazines that are curios or relics.

Most readers here know that an M1 Garand, the primary US infantry rifle of WWII, holds 8 rounds. The new law reduces the legal magazine capacity of rifles with non-detachable magazines from 10 to 7, which indicates that the jerk who wrote this bill had some familiarity with the Garand. Obviously they had it in for the owners of these old rifles. Also in question are the M1 Carbine, British Lee-Enfield and Russian SVT.

How this is supposed to improve the safety of the general public is a mystery. This seems to be a textbook case of ideological extremists exploiting a horrible tragedy for the purposes of furthering their already established agenda. The majority of legislators probably had no idea of what all was included in the bill and just went along with the emotions of the moment and voted for a bad bill in order to look good to the press. Apparently there was no significant oppostion from either party.

How this will affect the Odessa, New York WWII reenactments remains to be seen. I have emailed the organizers, but have not received a reply at this writing.   In all probability, they  are still trying to make some sense out of this mess.   Hopefully, they will be able to salvage something, as these events have a reputation for being well-run, quality events. Hopefully, we will be hearing from someone in that area soon.

In all likelihood, we have not heard the last on this issue. I understand that lawsuits are in the offing regarding the new law. Hopefully, sanity will at some point, prevail.

I don’t know if New York, like many other states, sponsors any living history events, (of any time period) but if I lived there, I believe that I would be tempted to cease supporting state-sponsored events. Why feed the dog that bites us?




Comments (4)

Scott Clark

January 31st, 2013 at 6:01 pm    


As one of the organizers of Odessa as well as a reenactor who lives in the state of New York, I can say its a mess. We are trying to make sense of this law but are having a hard time getting answers. No matter who you speak too, you receive a different interpretation. Odessa itself is alive at this time and will continue to be planned. And will continue to to be scheduled until a firm answer to our questions is made. We as an event, as well as fellow reenactors will not put our friends in danger of loosing your weapons. We ask you to support the actions of various State Legislators who are fighting this law. Please contact me through the website email for any questions or look for the Odessa Event page on Facebook to keep up with news. We thank everyone who has supported us. Scott Clark, Odessa Staff.


January 31st, 2013 at 8:53 pm    

Nothing like painting all these historic weapons with a broad brush. I am still holding out for an Odessa event however, I just hope it’s not 20 on 10 if I’m driving 4 1/2 hrs to get there.

I don’t think this ban will apply to my weapon, with the possible exception of the bayonet lug but that being said, I think it will affect many others and this is my concern for this event and many like it. Is Geneseo next?

My faith is in Scott and his crew to figure this out. His events are first rate. But NY….????

Jim Barnes

February 1st, 2013 at 11:15 am    


You absolutely have our complete support. You guys have a great reputation for putting on outstanding events. It sucks that you have to deal with this. I will help you any way I can.


Scott Clark

February 5th, 2013 at 9:13 pm    

Thank you guys for the support. We really do appreciate it. We are still waiting to hear from a couple State representatives for firm confirmation on the law. We have spoken with the local LEOs and judges in Odessa and they are behind us as well. The registration forms are available on the website. I would ask, if you would like to attend Ostfront to just send me an email at so we can get a head count of who is interested. I look forward to just being able to move forward and having a great event.


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