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SAFE Act challenge heads to Supreme Court

A rally against the NY SAFE Act outside the Capitol late last month. Photo by Josefa Velasquez.
March 11, 2013
SAFE Act opponents will have their first day in court Wednesday as Robert Schulz, acting pro se on behalf of 1,256 plaintiffs, had his motion to have oral arguments heard by the state Supreme Court approved.

Schulz petitioned the court on March 7 to have oral arguments heard by the court on Wednesday "given the fact that 53 of 56 operative sections of the SAFE Act are scheduled to take effect on March 14, 2013," according to his motion filed with the court. The suit would provide an injunction against parts of the SAFE Act becoming law while the courts determined the constitutionality of those sections.

Schulz, founder of We the People of New York, has helped organize rallies held at the Capitol protesting the New York SAFE Act.

SAFE Act opponents say the restrictive gun laws violate the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers and the Message of Necessity attached to it, which allowed the passage of the bill without the typical three-day aging period, violated the state Constitution.

Assistant Attorney General James McGowan will represent the defendants in the case, which according to court documents, are listed as; Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, Independent Democratic Conference Leader Sen. Jeffrey Klein, D-Bronx, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.

The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Albany County Courthouse. According to a recent update on We the People of New York's webpage the group has asked that any citizens planning on attending the hearing be "well-dressed and respectful of the proceedings," and reminds them "there are no banners or signs permitted" in the courthouse. The post also asks lawsuit supporters to hold a "silent vigil" in lieu of active protests if they choose to picket at the courthouse.

A lawsuit by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, which has yet to be filed, is separate from the one spearheaded by Schulz.

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