Case information: New York State Rifle and Pistol Ass’n, et al. v. Cuomo, et al., No. 13-cv-00291-WMS (W.D.N.Y., complaint filed March 21, 2013)
At Issue: Challenging the constitutionality of New York’s Post-Newtown Assault Weapon and High Capacity Magazine Ban. This lawsuit, filed by a gun lobby group and a few individuals, challenges the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, which was passed in direct response to the tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The shooter at Newtown used an assault weapon and multiple high capacity magazines to kill 26 people, including 20 children, in just five minutes. The SAFE Act strengthened New York’s ban on these dangerous weapons and magazines by–among other things–broadening the definition of an assault weapon to include guns with characteristics that enable the firing of hundreds of bullets per minute, aid in the commission of mass murders and assaults, or facilitate the weapon’s concealment. This lawsuit makes the radical claim that the Second Amendment protects a “right” to own assault weapons and high capacity magazines and that New York’s laws regulating these dangerous weapons (including the SAFE Act) are unconstitutional.
The Law Center’s Brief: Our brief, joined by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, argues that the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court and other courts, does not protect a right to own weapons that are designed for a battlefield and have no connection to lawful self-defense in the home. Indeed, every court to have considered challenges to laws banning assault weapons or high capacity magazines since the Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald has upheld those laws, including the conservative D.C. Circuit.