Court to review speedy approval of NY gun controls

AP News
Posted: Mar 01, 2013 7:11 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York court agreed Friday to review whether the state's strict new gun controls were rushed into law in violation of the state constitution.

A state Supreme Court justice granted the request for a hearing by plaintiffs who claim the law violates the guarantees of free speech, property ownership and the right to petition the government guaranteed under the state and federal constitutions.

Plaintiff Robert Schulz called Gov. Andrew Cuomo a "king" for pushing through the nation's toughest gun law by suspending the three-day review usually required before votes on bills.

"Kings govern by opinion," said Shulz, who calls himself a "constitutionalist" and has challenged governors for decades in court although he isn't a lawyer. "There has to be some rationale, some justification of facts before waiving the people's demand for three days'" review of a bill.

The law enacted Jan. 15, pushed by Cuomo, sets a seven-bullet limit on magazines, tightens the definition of illegal "assault weapons" and requires owners of formerly legal semi-automatic guns to register them, among other measures.

The New Yorkers are representing themselves, without lawyers. A March 11 date in state court is scheduled. State officials will have to argue their case to avoid an injunction against the law.

"We believe the law is, and the process was, valid and constitutional," said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.

Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed on the bill in closed-door negotiations and put the politically dicey measure to a vote at night in mid-January. That was after Cuomo issued a "message of necessity," which allows the constitutional waiting period to be suspended.

Schulz, of Warren County, called the gun control law "repugnant" and seeks to have it declared void. The plaintiffs said they have 1,200 backers.