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NY Moves to Toss Lawsuit Against Gun-Control Law

11:54 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief

ALBANY The state Attorney General's Office moved Monday to dismiss an injunction filed by a gun-rights group that would seek to void New York's new gun-control law.

The state's response calls for the injunction request to be tossed, saying that the Jan. 15 law was passed legally. Robert Schulz, a North Country resident and head of the group, We The People of New York, Inc., filed the injunction Feb. 28 and claimed that the law is unconstitutional.

The state said in its response Monday that "this claim is nonjusticiable and thus provides no basis for the extraordinary remedy the plaintiff seeks here."

The state's filings says the NY-SAFE Act was passed in response to mass shootings in December in Newtown, Conn., and Webster, Monroe County. The law toughens reporting requirements for gun owners, expands an assault-weapons ban and lowers the number of bullets in a magazine from 10 to seven.

The state said that the courts have ruled that "enactments of the Legislature -- a co-equal branch of government -- may not casually be set aside by the Judiciary."

Schulz claimed that the law is invalid in part because it was hastily passed by the Legislature through a message of necessity by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A message of necessity allows the Legislature to vote on a bill without a standard three-day-waiting period.

The state's response said that the message of necessity is not grounds to overturn the law. The Attorney General's Office represents the state in most lawsuits.

"Indeed, merely providing a message of necessity does not in any way compel the Legislature to act," the response reads. "The message is an authorization, not a command."

The group said in a statement last month that the law erred in its intent and violates the state constitution. The group is one of several, including the state Rifle & Pistol Association, that have indicated plans to sue over the law.

"For starters, Governor Cuomo violated Article III, Section 14 of the New York Constitution by misstating the facts in his message of necessity in order to ram the NY SAFE Act through the Senate and Assembly in a matter of hours. There was no legitimate need for speed," Schulz said in a statement last month.

The group will respond Tuesday, and the sides are slated to be in state Supreme Court in Albany on Wednesday.


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