Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed through New York’s new gun control law, the first in the nation since the Newtown massacre, so quickly that gun enthusiasts barely had time to stockpile soon-to-be banned firearms before the law went into effect. The New York Times reports that in the past two weeks, gun control advocates have been rallying against the law by signing petitions, holding protests, and vowing not to register their guns, which have now been deemed assault weapons. While calling for Cuomo to be impeached may be cathartic, gun advocates know those efforts won’t accomplish much. Now they’re focusing on their most feasible option: legal action. On Tuesday, New York Rifle & Pistol Association, a gun owner’s group, took the first step, filing a notice that it plans to sue to overturn the law on the grounds that the criminalization of certain firearms amounts to “a deprivation and taking of them by the State of New York under color of law and without due process or just compensation.”
The plaintiffs also include the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association, the Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education Inc., and AR15.COM LLC, and other gun owners and businesses are expected to join the suit. Two gun owners filed a separate suit in State Supreme Court in Buffalo on Tuesday, and they hope to turn it into a class-action lawsuit. Their lawyer, James Tresmond, says he’s already been contacted by more than 14,000 potential plaintiffs. “They want to contribute money,” he said. “They want to get rid of this governor. They want to get rid of the legislators that voted for it.”
The Cuomo administration hasn’t commented on the filings, but the Daily News reports that Cuomo acknowledged that the law has riled gun owners in an appearance on an Albany radio station. “When they actually find out about the law, it’s not going to be as bad as they think, because it’s not going to have a significant effect on most gun owners,” said Cuomo. He also noted that polls show 70 percent of New Yorkers support the law — though his office is still urging gun control groups to help increase that number by publicly declaring their support and appreciation for the law.
Gun rights advocates from across the country are promising to help New Yorkers fight the law, and the Times reports that just as Cuomo wanted the legislation to be an example for other states, “gun owners were promising to set an example in fighting back.” Of course, the difference is that Cuomo already managed to enact one of the nation’s strictest gun laws, while passing the federal assault weapons ban seems unlikely.