Court to consider whether speedy approval of NY gun controls violated constitution
ALBANY, N.Y. – A New York state judge agreed Friday to consider whether the state's tough new gun restrictions were rushed into law in violation of the state constitution.
State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly signed an order granting the request for a hearing by plaintiffs who are challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to waive the three-day review usually required before votes on bills, according to LoHud.com.
The plaintiffs argue the law violates the guarantees of free speech, property ownership and the right to petition the government guaranteed under the state and federal constitutions.
Plaintiff Robert Schulz called Cuomo a "king" for pushing through the nation's toughest gun law by suspending the three-day vetting period by submitting a “message of necessity” on the law, which allows the constitutional waiting period to be suspended.
"Kings govern by opinion," said Shulz, who calls himself a "constitutionalist" and has challenged governors for decades in court although he isn't a lawyer. "There has to be some rationale, some justification of facts before waiving the people's demand for three days"' review of a bill.
The law enacted Jan. 15, pushed by Cuomo, sets a seven-bullet limit on magazines, tightens the definition of illegal "assault weapons" and requires owners of formerly legal semi-automatic guns to register them, among other measures.
The New Yorkers are representing themselves, without lawyers. A March 11 date in state court is scheduled. State officials will have to argue their case to avoid an injunction against the law.
"We believe the law is, and the process was, valid and constitutional," said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.
Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed on the bill in closed-door negotiations and put the politically dicey measure to a vote at night in mid-January. That was after Cuomo issued the message of necessity, which the plaintiffs say includes misrepresentations.
The message of necessity, according to LoHud.com, reads: “Some weapons are so dangerous, and some ammunition devices are so lethal, that New York State must act without delay to prohibit their continued sale and possession in the state in order to protect its children, first responders and citizens as soon as possible. This bill, if enacted, would do so by immediately banning the ownership, purchase and sale of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices.”
Schulz, of Warren County, called the gun control law "repugnant" and seeks to have it declared void. The plaintiffs said they have 1,200 backers.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.