On Tuesday, Chief US District Judge William M. Skretny issued a decision declaring that the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act did not violate the Second Amendment. The strict gun control law was passed early in 2013 following the tragic Newtown shooting in December 2012. At the time, the SAFE Act was widely regarded as one of the strictest gun control laws in the United States, banning standard-capacity magazines and a number of “assault weapons,” in addition to other provisions. According to The Buffalo News, Skretny upheld the majority of the SAFE Act, although he did strike down the seven-round magazine limit as “tenuous, strained and unsupported.” Other minor parts of the law were also removed due to improper grammar or spelling.
Despite the rejection of the seven-round cap, gun control advocates are calling the decision a major victory.
“The majority of the challenged provisions withstand constitutional scrutiny,” Skretny said.
Shortly after the SAFE Act passed with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s support last January, a number of gun owner’s groups filed a lawsuit arguing that the new law was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs included the New York Rifle and Pistol Association, Westchester County Firearm Owner’s Association, the National Rifle Association (NRA), and many others. Last year, Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, called the SAFE Act a sign of disrespect for the many New York gun owners who had little say in the law’s passage.
“Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature usurped the legislative and democratic process in passing these extreme anti-gun measures with no committee hearings and no public input,” Cox said after announcing the NRA’s support for the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs went on to claim that as well as being unconstitutional, the SAFE Act jeopardizes a gun owner’s ability to effectively defend his or herself. Judge Skretny disagreed, finding that the law does not totally disarm the state’s gun owners or “meaningfully jeopardize their right to self defense.”
According to WHEC, an attorney involved with the case said that the plaintiffs plan on taking the case to the Second Circuit in New York City and speculated that the lawsuit could go all the way to the Supreme Court.