by Sharon Rondeau

(Dec. 31, 2013) — A federal judge in upstate New York ruled on Tuesday that while portions of the new firearms law known as the SAFE Act are constitutional, a provision limiting rounds to seven in ten-round magazines is not.

Eight plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in March as a result of the passage of the act in January, which was passed without the customary public comment period in response to the slayings of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, which is approximately 60 miles from New York City.

Judge William M. Skretny of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York found that most of the SAFE Act does not infringe on citizens’ Second Amendment rights to “keep and bear arms.”  However, regarding the seven-round limit in ten-round chambers, he stated that “the seven-round limit is largely an arbitrary restriction that impermissibly infringes on the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.  The Court therefore strikes down that portion of the Act.”

However, Skretny ruled that ammunition rounds can be limited to ten.

Various grassroots groups have opposed the legislation and carried out numerous informational sessions and protests against it, including a provision which will require owners of “assault” weapons to register them by April 15, 2014. Some citizens and at least one county sheriff have indicated that they will not comply with that portion of the law.

Connecticut passed a similar provision in PA 13-3 in April, with a registration deadline of today.  A lawsuit filed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation located in Newtown has been dismissed, while a second challenge submitted by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) will be heard beginning on January 30.

Skretny has been serving as a federal judge since 1990 after he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

It is expected that Tuesday’s decision will be appealed by Second Amendment proponents.


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