On March 21, 2013, a group of plaintiffs led by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in Buffalo, New York against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state officials pleading that the NY SAFE Act violates their rights under the United States Constitution:

  • Banning magazines with a capacity of more than 7 or 10 rounds of ammunition.  Plaintiffs argue that banning commonly-possessed magazines violates their Second Amendment rights.  Included among the plaintiffs are a left-hand amputee and a paraplegic who would have difficulty reloading with smaller magazines in the event of a home invasion.
  • Banning so-called assault weapons.  Plaintiffs argue that banning these commonly-possessed firearms violates their Second Amendment rights: “None of the above ‘assault weapon’ features makes a rifle, shotgun, or pistol more powerful or dangerous. Prohibiting guns with more comfortable furniture that allows them to fit one’s hands and to be held better, and thereby to be fired with less discomfort and more accuracy, infringes on Second Amendment rights and is not even rational.”

  • Allowing fully-loaded 10 round magazines at shooting ranges and competitions.  Plaintiffs argue that they are denied equal protection of the laws, when they cannot fully load a 10 round magazine for purposes of home protection.
  • Restricting ammunition sales.   Because the NY SAFE Act’s new regime for regulating ammunition sales would limit such sales to in-state sales made in person, Plaintiffs argue that the NY SAFE Act violates the interstate Commerce Clause.
  • Void for vagueness.   Plaintiffs point out that several provisions of the NY SAFE Act are far from clear, and thus fail to provide adequate notice in violation of the Due Process clause.

NYSRPA v Cuomo raises substantial questions about whether the NY SAFE Act violates the US Constitution and whether it is in conflict with the US Supreme Court’s Heller decision.  We will continue to follow this case with interest.

Any questions you may have about the NY SAFE Act or the proposed Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 should be directed to John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.