NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s so-called SAFE Act (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act) is unconstitutional.
The law explicitly goes after “military-style” firearms while purporting to protect hunting and sporting purposes. The Second Amendment is not about hunting and sporting uses of arms. Despite all the disputes about the phrasing, there can’t be any question that it refers to “militia” and “the security of a free state.” Neither of these has anything to do with hunting or sports.
The key language in the ban shows that the legislative intent is to discriminate against “military-style” features, and favoring (in a relative sense) hunting and sporting purposes.
When the Cuomo gun ban heads to SCOTUS (as the Supreme Court of the United States is sometimes known), the Court will have to first come to grips with the purpose of the Second Amendment. While the only sensible reading is that in includes military arms, we can’t count on the Court being sensible. With anemic conservatives like Kennedy and Roberts on the bench, we could end up with a ruling that leaves no purpose at all.
This would bring us to the next step – scrutiny of the challenged law. It seems likely that SCOTUS will retain the notion that there is still an individual right to keep and bear arms. Being a fundamental right, the Court will likely apply strict scrutiny: Asking whether the law narrowly tailored to a compelling state interest.