In a move widely celebrated by activists, New York Supreme Court justices last week ordered Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration to prove by the end of next month that its recent assault on gun rights is actually constitutional – critics and experts say it clearly violates both the U.S. and state constitutions. The extraordinary speed used to adopt the controversial legislation, which appears to have violated a separate provision in the state constitution, is also facing scrutiny from the judicial branch. If the state government fails to prove its case on both counts in the time frame provided, the unprecedented attack on gun rights may be struck down entirely, or at least temporarily rendered void. Gun rights activists have been pursuing multiple strategies to defeat the controversial infringements on the right to keep and bear arms adopted in New York. However, attacking them in the courts is seen by activists as among the most viable, at least at this point.
The statute in question, the so-called u201CNY SAFE Act,u201D purports to limit firearms to seven rounds and ban most semi-automatic weapons and standard-capacity magazines. Other unconstitutional and highly controversial provisions aim to, for example, mandate gun-owner registration with authorities while demanding government approval for virtually every firearm transfer.
Activists have already promised to defy the unconstitutional restrictions, and thousands of protesters recently converged on Albany calling on u201CKingu201D Cuomo to resign or even be tried for treason owing to his blatant disregard for his oath of office and the lawless assault on the Constitution. The protests are getting bigger and louder even as the state faces an avalanche of lawsuits to overturn its lawless assault on the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers. Amid the anti-gun rights hysteria whipped up by the increasingly discredited establishment media after the massacre of children in a Connecticut u201Cgun-free zone,u201D the controversial u201CNY SAFE Actu201D was rammed through the legislature with arm-twisting from Gov. Cuomo on January 15. It passed just hours after being introduced – an apparent violation of the state Constitution, which generally requires three days before legislation can be passed unless there is an emergency.
In fact, the legislation's approval was so rushed that lawmakers, most of whom apparently did not even read the bill, failed to exempt police officers from the draconian restrictions, sparking a mad dash to amend the statute before law-enforcement officials also become criminals. Across the state, sheriffs and other top law-enforcement officials have expressed serious concerns about the legislation, too – especially because of the brazen infringements on God-given rights of citizens and the violation of the U.S. and state constitutions they all took an oath to uphold.
If gun owners get their way and the state is forced to obey the U.S. and New York constitutions, however, it may all be a moot point. Last week, in two separate orders, state Supreme Court justices ordered the embattled Cuomo administration to explain itself and its unconstitutional infringements on the unalienable right to keep and bear arms enshrined in both the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the New York Constitution. The first order, issued by State Supreme Justice Deborah Chimes on February 27, demands that the state government prove that its unprecedented infringements on gun rights are indeed constitutional by April 29. The lawsuit was initiated by gun dealer Edward Holtz, who argues that the unconstitutional statute, among other problems, put him out of business, left him with merchandise he cannot sell, and violates his rights. According to the order issued by Justice Chimes, if the state is unable to prove that its statute is constitutional by the deadline, she will temporarily enjoin it. The other major lawsuit making its way through the courts resulted in an order issued on March 1 by State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly. The justice granted a hearing to the more than 1,250 plaintiffs, who are arguing, among other points, that the state's decision to waive the constitutionally mandated three-day review before voting on bills represents a blatant violation of the state constitution.