On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that New York’s controversial gun-control law, the SAFE Act, is constitutional. The SAFE Act greatly restricts what types of weapons can be owned and substantially limits how and when weapons can be transferred between private citizens.
According to the Times Union:
In a decision released Monday, a three-judge panel concluded that the “core provisions” of the expanded ban on assault weapons in both states “do not violate the Second Amendment” because they are “substantially related to the achievement of an important governmental interest” — in this case public safety and crime reduction — and are therefore subject to intermediate and not strict court scrutiny.
The decision largely upheld a December 2013 ruling by federal Judge William Skretny of New York’s Western District that eliminated the SAFE Act’s demand that gun owners could load no more than seven rounds in their firearms — a requirement the state quickly backed away from after it became evident that seven-round magazines were unavailable.
Of course, the second-highest court in the land upholding the law paves the way for other states, and even the federal government to pass similar laws without too much fear of a court challenge.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the rest of the nation to follow New York’s example in a statement following the decision:
“Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld what we have long known to be true – that the core provisions of the NY SAFE Act do not violate the Second Amendment. Today, common sense prevailed.
“When we passed the SAFE Act, just days after the tragedies in Newtown and Webster, New York proved to the nation that it is possible to enact sensible gun control that coexists with the Second Amendment. We showed that it can be done with bi-partisan support from both urban and rural communities. And we took a fundamental step forward to help end the stream of senseless killings by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.
“This case validates a simple, fundamental truth about gun control: that it is possible to have strong laws that keep our communities safe, while at the same time respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. New York has set the example – and it’s far past time for Washington to follow suit and pass a sensible national gun control policy.”
Any new federal gun control push would likely not take place before the 2016 elections.