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New York Gun Groups, Counties, Revolt Over Cuomo Weapons Laws

Friday, 22 Mar 2013 07:26 PM


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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was sued by gun advocacy groups seeking a court order declaring unconstitutional new state laws regulating the sale and possession of firearms and ammunition.

Organizations led by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association sued Thursday in federal court in Buffalo to “vindicate the right of the people of the state of New York to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

“The act creates new offenses with criminal penalties for previously lawful activities involving the acquisition and possession of rifles, handguns, shotguns, ammunition magazines and ammunition,” the groups said in the suit. “As such, the act severely and adversely affects plaintiffs and millions of other law-abiding gun owners in New York.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers in 40 counties in upstate New York have passed resolutions asking for the repeal of the new gun laws, NPR reports.

“I don’t believe punishing law-abiding citizens, adding a burden to those who are trying to comply with the law, solves the problem.” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks on NPR.

“Let’s take a step back – let’s repeal -- let’s really go out and try to address the concerns of the people in the community. That’s really what we’re asking the governor to do.”

Cuomo pushed the law through the legislature in January, making New York the first state to respond to the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The measure tightens restrictions on sales and closes gaps in a 2000 ban on assault weapons.
It also bans the sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than seven rounds. A drawback to the law is that “there is no such thing as a seven-bullet magazine,” Cuomo said at a March 20 press briefing in Albany. That left him with no option other than to roll back the law and again allow the sale of 10- round holders while keeping it illegal for them to contain more than seven at a time.

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, said that the state will suspend the April 15 effective date banning the sale of magazines with more than seven bullets to give lawmakers time to change the statute.
The changes are happening as Cuomo, a 55-year-old Democrat, has been attacked by pro-gun groups who say the law was rushed through. In January, Cuomo waived a requirement for a three-day waiting period between a bill’s introduction and vote. The legislature approved the measure within 24 hours of its introduction.

“If there hadn’t been a secret vote in the middle of the night, they would have noticed the issue with the seven-round magazines,” Brian Pemberton, a Long Island resident and competitive shooter, said in a telephone interview. “The size of the magazine isn’t going to affect criminals.”

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