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Gun Groups Prepare Lawsuit Against NYS

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Four gun-rights groups have filed a Notice of Claim in New York State, challenging the gun measure Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law earlier this month.

The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association; the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association, based in Rye Brook; the Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education, in Commack, Long Island; and AR15.com, a web site run out of Farmington, in upstate New York, filed a notice of claim Tuesday with the New York State Attorney General’s office. Here’s President of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Tom King.

Governor Cuomo signed into law The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or NY SAFE Act, as it is known, January 15, saying New York is the first state in the nation to ban any magazine that can hold more than seven rounds and run instant background checks on all ammunition purchases at the time of sale. The Act was signed one month after the mass school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Upon filing the notice of claim, the groups have 90 days to file a lawsuit. Asked whether they would sue, Tom King replies:

A spokeswoman for State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office declined to comment, pending review of the Notice of Claim.

Richard Aborn is president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Aborn, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney and former president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, does not think there is a case against the state.

The notice says the plaintiffs are not seeking monetary damages, rather, they are seeking to have the SAFE Act declared unconstitutional. The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association’s Tom King says he expects 10-to-12 additional groups to file suit with the current four, including gun manufacturers.

According to the notice that was filed, the plaintiffs claim that the NY SAFE Act violates their constitutional right to privacy; interferes with their constitutional rights to travel intra- and inter-state with lawfully-possessed firearms; and unconstitutionally bans the possession of certain firearms, ammunition and large-capacity feeding devices that were legally possessed prior to the SAFE Act. These are among several other claims.

Separately, on the federal level, U.S. Democratic Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Republican Senator from Illinois Mark Kirk today are introducing legislation they say is the first federal measure that defines gun trafficking as a federal crime. They say The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 would provide tools to law enforcement to get illegal guns off the street, away from criminals and gangs. The bi-partisan measure comes as Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on gun control began this morning.

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