NRA affiliate files lawsuit against state gun law

The Nassau Police Department is encouraging residents to The Nassau Police Department is encouraging residents to turn in unlicensed and unloaded firearms as part of a gun buyback day scheduled for Feb. 16 in Uniondale. Photo Credit: NYPD

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ALBANY -- New York's affiliate of the National Rifle Association filed a federal lawsuit Thursday seeking an injunction against the state's new gun control law, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

The action came just a day after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislators said they would roll back one key aspect of the law, indefinitely suspending the April 15 effective date to ban the sale of magazines holding more than seven bullets. Lawmakers said they were reversing course because seven-bullet clips aren't made.

The magazine limit was one of many claims made in the lawsuit filed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, along with a cadre of gun shop owners, gun club members, ammunition sellers and Assemb. Bill Nojay, a Rochester-area Republican.

"This is an action to vindicate the rights of the people of the State of New York to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the (U.S.) Constitution, which prohibits infringement of the right of law-abiding citizens to keep commonly possessed firearms in the home for defense of self and family and for other lawful purposes," the plaintiffs said in the claim, which was filed in Buffalo.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is named in the suit, vowed to forcefully fight the claim. "My office will continue to aggressively defend the protections embodied in the law because every New Yorker deserves to live in a safe neighborhood free from the threat of gun violence," Schneiderman said in a statement.

Cuomo and legislators enacted the state's comprehensive gun law in mid-January, one month after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. Touted by the governor as the toughest in the nation, it bans semiautomatic rifles that have more than one of the so-called military-style features, limits ammo magazines to a maximum of seven rounds and increases penalties for illegal guns.

The Rifle and Pistol Association said the law "radically broadened the meaning of assault weapon," too vaguely defines magazines, illegally limits commerce and infringes on an individual's right to protection.

The suit said one plaintiff, Roger Horvath, is a paraplegic who has a 9-year-old son and who lives about 5 miles from the nearest police precinct. The Putnam County resident also suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, which makes it more difficult for him to load magazines.

"The extended time Mr. Horvath currently requires to switch out ammunition magazines represents a prolonged exposure to capture, injury, and/or death at the hands of a home invader, robber, or other predator," the lawsuit said.

Lawmakers could vote to suspend the ban on selling 10-round magazines in the next few days, in the course of enacting a state budget, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said.

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