New York’s expanded ban on assault weapons is constitutional, but it cannot limit a magazine to seven bullets, a federal court judge ruled today.
The ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny in Buffalo found that New York’s gun-control law, called the SAFE Act, that restricts assault weapons doesn’t infringe on Second Amendment rights. But the judge tossed a provision that limits a magazine that can hold 10 rounds to just seven bullets.
“This Court finds that the challenged provisions of the SAFE Act — including the act’s definition and regulation of assault weapons and its ban on large-capacity magazines — further the state’s important interest in public safety, and do not impermissibly infringe on Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights,” Skretny ruled.
“But, the seven-round limit fails the relevant test because the purported link between the ban and the state’s interest is tenuous, strained, and unsupported in the record.”
The State Rifle & Pistol Association and other gun-rights groups filed court papers in March to challenge the SAFE-Act soon after it was passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who championed the law as a response to the Newtown school shootings a year ago.
The court ruling is likely to the first round in a protracted legal battle over the law, which has been widely protested by gun-rights activists.
The lawsuit claimed that the law infringed on “fundamental constitutional rights to lawfully possess, keep, bear and use firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes.”
The law enacted tougher restrictions on gun sales, required added registration of gun possession and dropped the number of bullets allowed in a magazine from 10 to 7.