Acting Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara has ruled that the gun control law passed by the New York State legislature last year is constitutional after stating that there is “no absolute right to own firearms.” The decision was made after hearing a lawsuit brought by gun activist Robert Schultz of Warren County, who maintained that the bill infringed on his rights as stated in the Second Amendment. He now plans to appeal McNamara’s decision.
“The US Supreme Court said that it is unconstitutional to ban guns that are in common use,” he argued. “Rifles, pistols and shotguns that are banned in this case are in common use. They cannot be banned.”
During the hearing, McNamara had cited a civil rights law that stated the Constitution’s Second Amendment’s reference to the “right to bear arms is not absolute and may be limited by reasonable government restrictions.” These include laws already on the books banning possession of firearms by convicted felons and the mentally ill, as well as laws that forbid bringing guns onto school grounds.
“The right is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever for whatever purpose,” he stated.
The law in question, known as the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE Act), requires owners to register weapons “styled after military assault rifles” and bans the sale of new assault-style rifles. According to officials, there were already over 1 million such rifles in the state at the time Governor Cuomo signed the law into being. It also requires more thorough background checks and additional documentation for both handguns and ammunition.
In the meantime, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stressed that “New Yorkers deserve to live in state with a strong set of procedures in place to protect them from gun violence. Our gun law does this without infringing on the rights of responsible gun owners.”