Goodell, Giglio attend anti SAFE Act rally

Thousands of Second Amendment supporters from across New York gathered in Albany on Tuesday to rally for the repeal of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

Assemblymen Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, attended the rally, and are co-sponsoring legislation to repeal registration requirements, restore the definition of “assault rifle” and eliminate the law’s seven-bullet restriction.

A federal court judge recently stated that there was no rational basis for the seven-round limit and declared it was “unconstitutional.”

However, the restriction remains in place for all gun owners, with the exception of those in law enforcement.

Under the law, which was passed in January 2013, a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable clip is considered an assault rifle if it has an adjustable stock, a pistol grip, a thumb-hole stock or a threaded barrel end.

“Indeed, as the result of this expansive definition, many otherwise legal hunting rifles have now been reclassified as assault rifles,” Goodell said. “While the act prohibits anyone in New York from buying an assault rifle, it does not remove any of these rifles.”

Those who currently own such a rifle are allowed to keep it.

“Thus, the millions of ‘assault rifles’ in New York state remain in New York state,” Goodell added.

The SAFE Act prohibits the “passing down” of such rifles from generation to generation, even if they are lawfully owned. Instead, the rifle must be sold or transferred to someone outside of New York or it will be confiscated by the state.

“The confiscation of private property without any payment violates the due process clause of the Constitution,” Goodell said.

In addition to infringing on Second Amendment rights, Goodell said the SAFE Act may violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well, because it treats similar people in different ways.

“For example, if your identical twin bought a new ‘assault rifle’ the day before the law became effective, your twin could keep the rifle even though you could never buy such a rifle yourself,” he said.

According to the Department of Criminal Justice Services, only five murders were committed with a rifle in New York state in 2012.

By contrast, 55 people died in subway accidents and 24 people died in bicycle accidents that year in New York City.

Although many oppose the law, those on both sides of the issue have agreed on a few positives.

The act made the killing of emergency first responders an aggravated or first-degree murder charge, enhanced penalties for the crime and required life without parole.

It also required comprehensive review of mental health records before granting firearms permits and provided that guns must be safely stored if the owner lives with someone who has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence crime, has been involuntarily committed, or is currently under an order of protection.

Use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for private sales, except between immediate family, was also required.

A survey performed by the Associated Press found that 52 percent of Americans favor stricter gun laws, 31 percent want them to remain as they are and 15 percent think they should be loosened.