Gun rights group files lawsuit in NY over state’s new SAFE Act

Article Highlights

  • Judge demands New York prove new gun control’s constitutionality
  • Law’s “message of necessity” is in focus, which bans assault weapons
  • New law limits magazine capacity, bans certain rifles and shotguns

Believing the new gun laws enacted in New York violate the state’s Constitution, a judge has agreed to hear a case brought forth by gun rights group “We The People of New York”, which includes over 1200 plaintiffs from 58 different New York counties.

The judge in the case has ordered the state to show cause that the state’s new gun regulations do not violate the state’s constitution.

At heart in this case is the law’s “message of necessity”, which states, “Some weapons are so dangerous, and some ammunition devices are so lethal, that New York State must act without delay to prohibit their continued sale and possession in the state in order to protect its children, first responders and citizens as soon as possible. This bill, if enacted, would do so by immediately banning the ownership, purchase and sale of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices.”

State officials argue that since the law grandfathers in so-called “assault weapons” already owned by state residents, the law does not represent a sweeping and immediate ban on every assault weapon.  These weapons must be registered with the state by current owners.  Residents must register or sell these weapons by January 15, 2014.

The lead plaintiff in the case accuses the State of New York of ramming through these new gun laws in violation of the state’s three-day waiting period and believes the state misrepresented several portions of the new law.

“For starters, Governor Cuomo violated Article III, Section 14 of the New York Constitution by misstating the facts in his message of necessity in order to ram the NY SAFE [Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement] Act through the Senate and Assembly in a matter of hours. There was no legitimate need for speed,” he said.

“By doing what he did, he denied us our right of free speech and to petition the government,” he added, referring to the absence of public opinion on the matter. “That is a First Amendment right. That is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution and also guaranteed by our state constitution.

The NY SAFE Act bans magazines with more than 7 loaded rounds.  It also bans any rifle or shotgun with a so-called “assault weapon feature”, such as a pistol grip, bayonet lug, telescoping or folding stock or threaded barrel.  It also bans rifles with a muzzle break or compensator, thumbhole stock or foregrip.