Reporter S. H. Blannelberry of Guns America recently spoke with Buffalo constitutional law attorney Barry Covert about a number of topics of interest to gun owners.
Click here for a video of the interview.
Is the SAFE Act constitutional?
Asked about the constitutionality of New York State’s SAFE Act, which includes a number of firearm regulations, Mr. Covert noted that it was found by Judge William Skretny of the Western District of New York to be constitutional, except for the law’s provision restricting magazines to seven rounds.
Mr. Covert noted, “It is now on appeal to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, and we anticipate a ruling in the next couple months on whether the 2nd Circuit agrees with Judge Skretny’s rulings.”
Mr. Covert believes there are other problems with the SAFE Act that should be remedied, including that “it seems to be unconstitutional in my eyes that when an individual passes away, that his or her children now have a weapon that is suddenly deemed illegal, and that they must get it out of the state of New York, even though nothing was done with that weapon.”
Rather than trying to have the law repealed as a whole, Mr. Covert suggests that those who oppose it should target discrete areas of the law for legal challenges, taking “a scalpel, not a machete, approach.”
Orders of Protection and the Second Amendment
“Most people are familiar with an order of protection,“ Mr. Covert pointed out, “ [but] something that people aren’t familiar with . . . is that it really violates your Second Amendment right to bear arms.” He continued, “Despite the fact that there is usually no finding that you are specifically a danger to some other individual or the community, the order of protection requires that you divest yourself, that you transfer, any weapons at all, including shotguns and long rifles.”
It is a federal offense for an individual who has an order of protection issued against them to be in possession of any firearms, he noted. “These orders that are issued to readily in matrimonial and other cases really have dire ramifications, and if you’re, for example, a hunter or an individual that simply has these weapons, you have to divest yourself. You can’t engage in hunting until that order of protection is lifted. So there are some Second Amendment ramifications that are very serious here and can lead to federal prosecution.”
A member of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area, Mr. Covert is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of constitutional law, including First Amendment, Second Amendment, and civil rights actions as well as New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals and other areas.