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New York SAFE Act

Inconsistencies Amongst NY SAFE Act "Database" and Ammo Laws Frustrate Many

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December 16, 2014: Provisions governing ammunition sales within the NY SAFE Act have caused unrest amongst firearm retailers and consumers who want to insure that they are selling/purchasing ammunition legally. 

An open letter in early 2014 from NY State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico noted, in pertinent part, that "the [SAFE Act] requires that as of January 15, 2014, all ammunition transfers take place in person, including internet sales, which must be facilitated by a New York State ammunition seller," and "the law will also require retail sellers to do background checks and record sales once a New York State database is established and operational."

Chief inquiries raised by retailers and consumers of ammunition in New York have been: has this database been established? And how and when will we know when the database is operational?

In short, the database has not been established and New York State authorities have not provided any indication as to whether or not the operational date of a database is imminent. Rather, authorities have only hinted (for over one year now) that the database is "under construction." Authorities have assured industry members that notice will be given to all sellers "on a timely basis before the database is completed."

As such, ammunition purchase laws in New York for approximately the last year - and an unknown time moving forward - appear inherently inconsistent and ineffective. While the law mandates that consumers purchase ammunition in person, the state has failed to supply the purported extra security provided by background checks for ammunition purchases.

This unfortunate reality - faced by many New York firearm owners - may continue for a significant period of time, as authorities have not yet provided a hard (or estimated) date for when the database will be operational.

Briefs Filed in Support of Safe Act

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August 6, 2014:  Three amicus briefs were filed in the Second Circuit yesterday in support of upholding the constitutionality of the NY Safe Act. In one of the briefs, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, joined by eight other states (CA, CT, DE, HI, IL, IA, MA, OR) and the District of Columbia, argued that public safety is a compelling governmental interest that should be considered in applying traditional constitutional analysis to the right to keep and bear arms. The filing of this brief creates added importance to the decision facing the Second Circuit, as 23 other states have joined in filing a brief seeking to declare the Safe Act unconstitutional based on the argument that law-abiding citizens should be able to use semi-automatic firearms for lawful purposes.  The other two briefs filed yesterday were filed by the Brady Law Center and the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, both of which support the argument that the constitutionality of the NY Safe Act should be upheld. A copy of the State of Maryland’s (and eight other states’) brief can be found here. A copy of the Brady Center brief can be found here. A copy of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association brief can be found here.

Cuomo, NY State File Brief in Response Regarding Safe Act

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August 4, 2014: Last week, New York legislators filed Respondents’ Brief in the Second Circuit, addressing arguments made by the plaintiffs that the NY Safe Act violates the Second Amendment. The brief, submitted by Assistant Solicitor General Claude S. Platton, argues that the “assault weapons” and large-capacity magazines regulated by the Safe Act are not within the core protections of the Second Amendment, and that even if the challenged provisions of the Safe Act warrant a heightened degree of scrutiny, the restrictions provided in the Act still pass constitutional muster. The brief also appeals the decision of the District Court to strike down three provisions of the Safe Act, including the provision providing for a seven-round load limit. A copy of the brief can be found here.

2nd Circuit NY SAFE Act Challenge - NYSRPA v. Cuomo

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May 9, 2014:  This week, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. (NSSF) and a number of other groups joined the fight against the New York SAFE Act by filing amicus curiae briefs in the pending appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association et al. v. Cuomo et al. 

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Briefs Filed in SAFE Act Appeal

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May 8, 2014: Last week, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed its appellate brief in support of its challenge to the New York SAFE Act, which is currently on appeal to the Second Circuit.  New York State's brief is due on July 29th.

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