By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY, NY ---The state Rifle & Pistol Association filed a lawsuit Thursday against New York's gun-control law, saying it violates the Second Amendment.
The Rifle & Pistol Association is the state's arm of the National Rifle Association, and it has protested the law passed Jan. 15 by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Buffalo.
"The National Rifle Association is committed to defending the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding New Yorkers," Chris Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement. "Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York state Legislature usurped the legislative and democratic process in passing these extreme anti-gun measures with no committee hearings and no public input."
The lawsuit is the second against the NY-SAFE Act, which is considered the toughest gun-control law in the nation. The group filed a notice of claim Jan. 29 in state Supreme Court in Albany that it intended to sue, calling the law unconstitutional.
The lawsuit said that an assault-weapons ban infringes on people's right to bear arms.
"This is an action 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, which prohibits infringement of the right of law-abiding citizens to keep commonly-possessed firearms in the home for defense of self and family and for other lawful purposes," the lawsuit Thursday said.
Companies and groups that are plaintiffs in the case include the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association; Beikrich Ammunition Corp., based in East Rochester, Monroe County; and Blueline Tactical & Police Supply LLC, based in Elmsford, Westchester County.
Other plaintiffs include two Monroe County residents, Assemblyman Bill Nojay, R-Pittsford, and Thomas Galvin of Rochester, and Roger Horvath, of Mahopac, Putnam County, who is paralyzed. The lawsuit claims that Horvath's ability to use a gun to protect himself would be impeded under the new law, which lowers the maximum number of bullets allowable in a magazine from 10 to seven.
"The act's provisions on magazines put law-abiding citizens at a grave disadvantage to criminals, who will not comply with the seven-round limit," the lawsuit said.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the law is constitutional. He is defending the state in the lawsuit.
"The SAFE Act is a comprehensive law that is making New York communities safer, while ensuring constitutional protections to responsible gun owners," Schneiderman said in a statement. "My office will continue to aggressively defend the protections embodied in the law because every New Yorker deserves to live in a safe neighborhood free from the threat of gun violence."
Another gun-rights group filed a lawsuit against the measure in February, and a state judge tossed the suit earlier this month, saying that previous high court decisions prevented the judiciary from intervening in the legislative process. The group is appealing, and arguments are set to be heard Friday.
Cuomo and legislative leaders indicated this week that they plan to make some corrections to the law, which was passed just hours after the bill was printed. One of the expected changes is to allow manufacturers to sell magazines with 10 bullets, but only to allow gun owners to load seven bullets unless it's for a sanctioned competition.
Seven-bullet magazines are not sold, so lawmakers said the change is needed. They are also expected to exempt police and film productions from an assault-weapons ban.