New York state can’t afford to confiscate all the assault rifles out there.
The number of such military-style weapons in the state — including the New York-made Bushmaster used in the Sandy Hook massacre — is at least 1 million, far higher than even some local criminal-justice experts realize, gun-industry experts say.
And given that the weapons are worth $1,000 or more apiece, a buyback would cost the state at least $1 billion, since even Cuomo administration officials concede that their owners would have to be compensated financially.
“The cost of confiscation would make it impracticable, if there’s anything approaching a million of them, putting aside the other issues that would be involved,’’ said one Cuomo administration source.
Last week, Gov. Cuomo suggested during a radio interview that “confiscation could be an option’’ when developing a newly restrictive policy on assault-style rifles.
While a Cuomo aide estimated their number at just 30,000, industry experts who have firsthand knowledge of gun sales in New York over many years say there are “at least’’ a million semiautomatic rifles modeled on the military’s M16s legally in the hands of New Yorkers.
Unlike the millions of legally licensed handguns that are possessed by 1 million New York residents, the exact number of legally possessed semiautomatic assault rifles is not known because owners do not have to register them.
What you’d probably also have is a mass exodus of gun owners from the state who’d be relocating to more American-like states, leaving the state with even fewer taxpayers.
Cuomo’s statement that confiscation was possible went viral in pro-gun circles across the nation and is credited by firearms dealers with sharply increasing sales of the weapons in recent days.
Over the weekend, thousands of assault rifles were sold in hundreds of gun stores throughout New York — and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, more were sold across the nation, gun-store owners report.
“I can’t keep them on the shelf,’’ one major gun-store owner told The Post.