Judge finds Safe Act constitutional, rejects magazine restrictions

Posted at: 12/31/2013 2:24 PM
Updated at: 12/31/2013 6:43 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri and Berkeley Brean

A big decision was handed down by a federal judge means some changes for the controversial New York Safe Act.

In responding to a lawsuit filed by the NRA and a number of other gun advocacy groups, that judge ruled the Safe Act is constitutional but he rejected the portion of the law limiting the number of rounds in a gun to seven at a time.

The biggest change that comes with this decision is the fact now gun owners can load their magazine clips with up to 10 rounds. The judge ruled the seven-round restriction the Safe Act put in place was unconstitutional.

We spoke with the attorney representing the New York State Sheriff’s Association in this lawsuit. He explains why the judge ruled against the round restrictions.

Attorney Robert Brenna Jr. said, “The court basically said it was an arbitrary number. It was an arbitrary figure for someone to come up with that a clip must be restricted to seven rounds.”

The judge also ruled to remove certain parts of the Safe Act that were spelled wrong or according to the judge made no sense because of improper grammar. Those changes now make muzzle brakes legal but there is a chance lawmakers will fix the mistakes and they could be added back in.

We also spoke with the former president of SCOPE, Shooters Committee on Political Education. He says this ruling wasn't a surprise. They didn't expect the judge to make a decision until January but they weren't surprised by his decision.

Ken Mathison said, “The fact that we have gotten past the first step here and we have judge’s ruling, the filings can be fine-tuned. The new arguments in the next level and new filings can refine themselves based on what he said and every level there will be more refinement.”

What happens next? Attorney Bob Brenna Jr. tells News10NBC they will take this case to the Second Circuit in New York City. He says this case will most likely go to the Supreme Court and that could take years.

Click here to read the full decision

We also reached out to our local lawmakers today. Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R) is the minority leader in the state Assembly. He voted against the Safe Act. Late this afternoon, we asked him what he thought about the court’s ruling.
We asked him what the thought about the court’s ruling. Kolb said, “First of all I think it's great that they threw out the concept of only seven rounds per magazine. That was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen including this whole piece of legislation was one of the dumbest pieces of legislation I've ever seen.”

We asked from the point of view of the Legislature, what do you they do now? Kolb said, “I don't think the Legislature will do anything at this moment in time because, obviously, there could be an appeals process.”

Kolb says he's disappointed the entire law wasn't thrown out. State republicans wrote a bill last year to repeal the Safe Act but it didn't go anywhere.

Tuesday night News10NBC received a statement from the spokesman for Senator Ted O'Brien regarding this ruling:
"The Senator has not yet reviewed in detail the ruling that Judge Skretny reached today," O'Brien spokesman Tom Morrisey said. "It is our understanding that the majority of the act has been upheld as constitutional, and we will be reviewing the decision over the next few days."