Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nassau Co Guns of Color issue

One more reason to join
The petitioners expressed their gratitude to the Shooters' CommitteeOn Political Education (SCOPE), of Tonawanda, N.Y., for their strong support of the petitioners in their proceeding against Nassau.
Mineola, NY - July 29, 2008 –

Enforcement of a new gun ban enactedby Nassau County, New York, was suspended on the day it was due to gointo effect, thanks to efforts by three concerned citizens who brought alegal proceeding to set aside the law only two days earlier.Nassau's ban on certain guns based on their appearance is now onhold until the litigation is resolved.

Three New York State pistol licensees—Alan Chwick of Freeport,Edward Botsch of Franklin Square, and Thomas Fess ofRochester—instituted the proceeding on July 23rd in Nassau SupremeCourt to challenge a local law passed by the Nassau County Legislatureon May 25th. That law would have turned the three men intocriminals—along with hundreds of other law-abiding Nassauresidents—requiring that their valuable firearms be surrendered fordestruction without compensation, and without any chance to sell thembefore the ban took effect. While Nassau's law purports to ban"deceptively colored handguns" that look like toy guns, the lawitself is "deceptive" in that it actually bans a wide variety oftraditional firearms used for sport and self-defense, as well asvaluable antiques, collectors' items, and commemorative firearms.

Lead petitioner Alan Chwick conceived of and drafted the complaint(known as an Article 78 petition) with the pro bono assistance of a NewYork gun-rights activist and attorney. The proceeding seeks a rulingfrom the court that Nassau's local law is invalid because it is"preempted" by New York State's extensive gun control laws,which already ban "disguised guns" and do not authorizelocalities to pass their own gun bans. The court must also nullify thecounty law because it is vague and ambiguous, lacks standards forconsistent enforcement, and violates the right to keep and bear armsunder both the United States Constitution and state Civil Rights Laws,according to the petition.

Faced with petitioners' request to the court for a temporaryrestraining order and an injunction to stay enforcement of the law,Nassau reluctantly stipulated on July 25th not to enforce the lawagainst any Nassau pistol licensee with banned guns possessed beforeJune 25th. Licensees from outside Nassau with pre-ban guns who travel tothe county for shooting matches are similarly exempt, as are dealers,who can keep banned guns in inventory and continue to sell them tolicensees residing outside of Nassau. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth A.Davis entered the stipulation into the record, making it binding on thepolice until the petition is fully decided. A final decision by thecourt is not expected until some time after September 9th, when thematter is expected to be fully briefed by the parties and submitted tothe court for consideration.On behalf of his fellow petitioners, Mr. Chwick stated, "We areextremely confident that after the court has a chance to review thepetition on the merits, it will grant the relief that we are seekingbecause this is a bad law that turns law-abiding gun owners intocriminals and makes them give up their registered guns for no goodreason. Guns in the hands of criminals are the problem, regardless ofthe color of the gun. Guns in the hands and homes of pistol licensees are not a threat to the police and need not be banned based on theirappearance, nor for any other reason.

"Mr. Chwick explained that the proceeding was brought to protect the interests of all of New York's law-abiding gun owners and dealers,most of whom are still unaware that many ordinary and valuable guns arebanned by Nassau's law and must be surrendered for destruction, andthat possession of a registered gun deemed "deceptively colored"subjects a licensee to one year in jail and a $1000 fine.

The petitioners expressed their gratitude to the Shooters' CommitteeOn Political Education (SCOPE), of Tonawanda, N.Y., for their strongsupport of the petitioners in their proceeding against Nassau.

Regards,Wm. J. Brookover

SCOPE Director @ Large
NY Muzzleloaders Assn. 2nd vice President
WCSC Director


Update on Nassau Co. guns of color issue.
The issue had its first day in court and Alan Chwick the main plaintiff was there most of the day in and out of the courtroom.
Basically the County was trying to negotiate a deal to lessen the impact of the lawsuit and the judge was somewhat reluctant to immediately slap the county with a TRO. So, the outcome at this time is that the judge without issuing a TRO has rendered the law unenforceable until the Article 78 plays out in the future court appearances which will be sometime in September. As part of this action, the plaintiffs are asking the court to make them "whole" which means ordering the county to pay court costs involved in fighting this law.


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