Federal District Court Judge William M. Skretny has found that most provisions of NY’s SAFE Act–passed only one month after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting–do not infringe the Second Amendment.

He did, however, find that the provision that limits magazine capacity to only seven rounds was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

This seemingly small win for gun owners is actually very important.

Almost no semi-automatic pistols have 7-round magazines available.  Because semi-automatic pistols are the overwhelming preference for civilian self-defense–as well as for police and military use–the 7-round limit would have effectively banned the large majority of semi-automatic pistols on the market.  (Technically, one could use a large capacity magazine and only load it to 7-rounds; if, that is, one were willing to risk a felony conviction based on a police officer’s honest ability to accurately count to seven. Not me, thanks.)

Ironically, one of the few semi-automatic pistols for which 7-round magazines are readily available is the model 1911, which most folks not familiar with guns will know as the Colt .45 pistol of WWII fame.  Thus, this relatively lethal handgun firing the potent .45 ACP cartridge would have been granted preference over many handguns of lesser lethality.

Thus the tossing of the 7-round limit saves for law-abiding citizens the vast majority of contemporary handguns for their self-defense use.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the SAFE Acts egregious restrictions on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens were allowed to stand, including severe restrictions on so-called “assault weapons,” mandatory registration which can only serve the purpose of future confiscation  of firearms possessed by law-abiding citizens (because criminals do not register their guns or otherwise obey gun laws), and so forth.

The full-length judicial opinion from Judge Skretny is available below.

Happy New Year!

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.