The gun-control law known as the SAFE Act was upheld in federal court on Monday after it was determined by a three-judge panel the measure does not infringe on the Second Amendment.
The ruling, issue by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, also upheld a Connecticut gun control law that, along with New York’s SAFE Act, had been approved in the wake of an elementary school shooting in December 2012.
“We hold that the core provisions of the New York and Connecticut laws prohibiting possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines do not violate the Second Amendment, and that the challenged individual provisions are not void for vagueness,” the ruling found.
Still, the ruling is only a partial victory for gun-control advocates. A key and controversial provision of the SAFE Act, which limits magazines capable of holding 10 rounds to seven bullets, was found to be unconstitutional, a finding that upholds a lower court’s determination.
“New York has failed to present evidence that the mere existence of this load limit will convince any would-be malefactors to load magazines capable of holding ten rounds with only the permissible seven,” according to the ruling.
Updated: In a statement, Cuomo hailed the ruling as “common sense prevailed” given that core provisions of the gun-control package were upheld.
“When we passed the SAFE Act, just days after the tragedies in Newtown and Webster, New York proved to the nation that it is possible to enact sensible gun control that coexists with the Second Amendment,” Cuomo said in the statement. “We showed that it can be done with bi-partisan support from both urban and rural communities. And we took a fundamental step forward to help end the stream of senseless killings by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. This case validates a simple, fundamental truth about gun control: that it is possible to have strong laws that keep our communities safe, while at the same time respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. New York has set the example – and it’s far past time for Washington to follow suit and pass a sensible national gun control policy.”
Nevertheless, gun-rights groups are disappointed in the decision.
“The Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision released Monday on the ‘NY UNSAFE Act’ is both disappointing and expected given the politicized nature of the issue,” Jake Palmateer, the leader of the gun-rights group NY2A. “Just as no American citizen should face felony prosecution in one state for what is seen as free speech in another state, no American citizen should be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they live in New York or Connecticut.”