May 8, 2014

SAFE Act lawsuit heating up

PLATTSBURGH — A statewide tour associated with a lawsuit against the SAFE Act stopped in Clinton and Essex counties to sign up plaintiffs. 

Almost 2,000 opponents of the controversial gun law will be part of the action, said Bob Schulz, founder of the We the People Foundation, which is bringing the pro-se case to the New York State Court of Appeals.

He said this lawsuit against the SAFE Act is based upon two issues.

“There are two areas of constitutional violation, in our opinion.”

The first is a procedural point regarding the “message of necessity” that Gov. Andrew Cuomo used to pass the law more quickly.

Schulz cited Article III, Section 14 of the New York State Constitution, stating that a bill must be on the desks of legislature members three days before a vote, unless the governor uses a message of necessity specifying that immediate passage is required. 

Cuomo used such a message to pass the SAFE Act.


However, Schulz believes that “the delegates to the constitutional convention made it very clear it would take an emergency — a national or manmade emergency — for the message of necessity to apply.

“What’s happened is that the government — not just the governor but the legislature, as well — has come to abuse the message of necessity,” he said. 

“If there’s a controversial bill or a governor’s priority bill — something he really wants — the governor will meet with leaders of the legislature and cut a deal” that will lead to quick passage of the bill. 

Schulz expressed concern that this prevents the “rank and file” of the legislature from being able to read the bill before voting on it, as well as eliminating the opportunity for constituents to contact their representatives before the vote.


The other challenge made in the lawsuit, Schulz said, “has to do with the right to keep and bear arms.

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