Chief Judge William M. Skretny, who was nominated by George H. W. Bush, wrote a well-reasoned opinion upholding many important aspects of the New York SAFE Act, including regulations on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But, the Judge’s ruling on the seven-bullet limit missed the mark.

Governor Cuomo signing the NY SAFE Act in January 2013.

Governor Cuomo signing the NY SAFE Act in January 2013.

Under the Judge’s ruling, there is no question that New York can regulate the size of a magazine based on its determination of how to improve public safety. Thus, it does not make any sense that it could not likewise determine the appropriate number of bullets. In fact, a bi-partisan majority of the legislature determined that seven bullets was the appropriate number, which is consistent with New York hunting law that a hunter may not have more than six bullets loaded in his gun at a time.

It is difficult to argue, as Judge Skretny does, that the seven-round limit is “arbitrary” since New York City has a five-bullet limit and the federal government, before the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, imposed a ten-bullet limit.

We expect the Attorney General will appeal this portion of the ruling and we look forward to it being overturned upon appeal.

Click here for an article in The New York Times about the ruling. 

In the Times article, Leah Gunn Barrett, the executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, commented, “A lot of states can take courage and take heart from this ruling, and maybe even Congress will take notice. The Second Amendment does not preclude reasonable regulation. It doesn’t mean you can have guns that are extremely dangerous, like assault weapons.”