ALBANY – The list of county district attorneys who pledge to not support a portion of the Safe Act is growing, particularly in the western portion of the state, however, a local civil rights advocate said challenges to the SAFE Act and the State Pistol Permit Laws could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
District attorneys in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Wyoming, Allegany, Steuben, Ontario, Livingston, Monroe, Yates, Cattaraugus, Genesee and Seneca counties have said they will not prosecute the SAFE Act seven-round capacity limit.
Steve Felano, civil rights advocate with 2AWNY.com, told WNYNewsNow Thursday that several cases being heard in the coming months could land the gun restriction in the lap of the U.S. Supreme Court.
“You’re going to have to bring this to the Supreme Court,” Felano said. He explained that state courts don’t apply strict scrutiny to the Second Amendment as they do in other amendment cases. “I think you’re going to see strict scrutiny,” in the Supreme Court, he said.
Felano said social media chatter is 90 percent positive that at least some of the SAFE Act will be overturned because of its vagueness.
The fact that so many local District Attorneys are not enforcing the seven round capacity portion of the SAFE act is a boon to local gun owners and the cases moving forward.
“That’s a huge bolster to these other cases,” he said. “It gives additional ammunition, pun intended, to these court challenges.”
There is, he said, a growing consensus among local District Attorneys that the SAFE Act is overly vague.
Felano said the likelihood is that at least five of the sitting Supreme Court Justices would apply strict scrutiny to the challenges should they be taken up by the Supreme Court.
“I would not prosecute it and never have. I am an avid second amendment supporter,” Cattaraugus County District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman, was quoted as saying.
“I want to be clear that my office has not prosecuted under that section since I have had the role of District Attorney. Since becoming the Acting District Attorney in 2016, I have not prosecuted under the section deemed unconstitutional,” Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson said.
Swanson previosuly announced his decision in a discussion with WNYNewsNow.