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March 11 and April 29 court hearings - what are they about?


 Len Lisenbee wrote this piece in the Daily Messenger
Hunters, shooters and gun owners across New York are seething mad about the anti-gun
legislation passed by the NYS legislature and signed by the governor. More than 10,000 showed
up at a pro-gun rally in Albany on Feb. 28 to voice their displeasure, the largest demonstration in
that city in modern times.

Here is an update on the status of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms
Enforcement Act of 2013, more commonly called the "SAFE Act." Two New York Supreme
Court justices last week ordered Gov. Cuomo's administration to prove by (first) March 11 and
(second) by April 29 that its recent assault on gun rights is actually constitutional.
If NY fails to prove its case in either of the courts and within the time frame provided, this
assault on our gun rights may be struck down entirely, or it may temporarily be rendered void
pending higher court appeals.

State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly granted a hearing on March 11 to the 1,256
plaintiffs who are arguing, among other points, that the state's decision to waive the constitution
mandated three-day review before voting on bills represents a blatant violation of the state
constitution. Since there was no "emergency action" in the Act, this case has strong merit.

State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Chimes issued an order for the Cuomo
administration to prove the SAFE Act constitutional by April 29. This lawsuit was initiated by
Edward Holtz, a lawful gun retailer, who argues that the statute put him out of business, left him
with merchandise he cannot sell, and violated his rights.

There are literally dozens of other lawsuits currently being prepared, and they will be
submitted during the next few weeks. Any one of them could derail this statute. Constitutional
experts declare that it clearly violates both the U.S. and state constitutions.

Based on both the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions, I agree. The U.S.
Supreme Court ruled that firearms "in common usage" cannot be restricted by state or federal
law. The SAFE Act's entire purpose is to restrict ownership of modern sporting rifles, so it
appears there is no way to support a case that this law complies with the Second Amendment.
And, the U.S. Constitution also prohibits ex post facto laws, which essentially turns
something that was legal into something illegal. The SAFE Act made lawfully possessed modern
sporting rifles and high capacity magazines instantly illegal, and turned many of their owners into
instant criminals.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb probably said it best with, "This is not a 'safe' act,
it's the wrong act." Thank you very much, Mr. Kolb.

Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger's Outdoors Columnist.

Contact him at




In summary: 

The March 11 lawsuit deals with the unconstitutionality of "the state's decision to waive the constitution
mandated three-day review before voting on a bill".


The April 29th lawsuit requires the state to show its "recent assault on gun rights is actually constitutional."