[This update contains new information and clarifies plaintiffs in the lawsuit.—Dave Workman]
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association has filed a federal lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and other officials, seeking injunctive relief from the state’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms (SAFE) Act.
An earlier version of this story said the National Rifle Association had filed the action, based on what appeared to be a press release received by this column that stated, "Today the National Rifle Association joined the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association in filing a complaint against the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York."
But NYSRPA President Tom King is now posting via Facebook, "Word is spreading that the NRA filed suit against the NYS SAFE Act. This is not true! The NYSRPA filed and is in charge of the proceeding, the NRA is offering financial support and technical support but the case is being handled by the two attornies hired by and under the direction of the NYSRPA."
The legal document, which does not show NRA as a plaintiff, may be read here. Examiner apologizes for the error.
The so-called SAFE Act was the law for which Olympic Arms in Lacey announced in February that it would no longer do business with agencies in New York State. It’s the kind of law anti-gunners would like to see enacted in Washington and Oregon as “sensible” or “reasonable.” It limits magazine capacity to seven rounds, requires background checks for ammunition purchases, and requires that retailers report large ammunition sales to the police.
New Yorkers haven't fared well with Washingtonians so far this year. When a New York media firm wanted the names of Concealed Pistol Licensees in King County last month, Sheriff John Urquhart just said "No."
Cuomo muscled the package through without hearings or public comment, the Christian Science Monitor noted. That would never fly in Olympia, where gun rights activists have held armed demonstrations this year, and flooded e-mail inboxes in opposition to semi-auto bans and expanded background check measures.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Buffalo, also names as defendants State Police Commissioner Joseph A. D’Amico, Erie County District attorney Frank A. Sedita and Lancaster Police Chief Gerald J. Gill. NYSRPA is joined in the action by the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association, Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education, New York State Amateur Trapshooting Association, Bedell Custom, Beikirch Ammunition Corporation, Blueline Tactical & Police Supply, and three individual citizens.
“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,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action in a prepared statement. “This obvious disrespect for New Yorkers and their Second Amendment rights will not be tolerated.”
Cuomo pushed a package of anti-gun measures earlier this year in reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut. New York, which already had some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, passed the new law in January. The law has been in the crosshairs of Empire State gun rights activists for two months. In January, the Rifle and Pistol Association filed notice of their intent to sue several days after Cuomo signed the bill.
The action came one day after gun prohibitionists gathered in Rochester to support the SAFE Act, and ended up trading barbs with gun rights activists.
Which side of the gun debate are you on?
- Firearms regulations should stay as they are
- Firearms should be outlawed entirely
- New restrictions on gun ownership and tighter controls of firearm regulations should be implemented.
Notice that the poll did not ask people if they think gun laws need to be relaxed or repealed entirely.
Back in New York, no timetable has been established that would indicate how long it might take before the NYSRPA lawsuit will be heard. But Empire State gun owners are fired up, and one can expect the lawsuit to keep them that way.
“Despite the wishes of Governor Cuomo,” Cox said, “law-abiding citizens have a fundamental right to keep commonly possessed firearms for defense of themselves and their families and for other lawful purposes including the enjoyment of New York’s rich hunting and sporting heritage.”
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