ALBANY, N.Y. - A group of 1,200 New Yorkers has forced a court review of whether New York's new gun controls were rushed into law in violation of the state constitution.
Robert Schulz, of Warren County, calls Gov. Andrew Cuomo a "king" for pushing through the nation's toughest gun law by suspending the three-day review usually required before votes on bills.
It's been 6 weeks since New York's SAFE Act was signed into law, banning defined assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Since then, thousands of people have rallied, and Friday, a court order forcing a review of whether the bill was rushed into law.
"There's something really wrong with the process, and that's what this lawsuit is primarily about," says Bob Schulz, the leader of the effort to get the court order.
Sculz says Governor Cuomo's message of necessity the night of the vote violated the state constitution.
"We've asked the court to declare the act unconstitutional, and therefore null, void and without any effect," says Schulz.
Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed on the bill in closed-door negotiations and put the politically dicey measure to a vote at night in mid-January. That was after Cuomo issued a "message of necessity," which allows the constitutional waiting period to be suspended.
Schulz and his co-plaintiffs won an order Friday that will require the governor and Legislature to prove the message of necessity was warranted.
"His message of necessity included facts that were false. Facts that contradicted the plain language of the SAFE Act," said Schulz.
Cuomo responded by saying, "We believe the law is, and the process was, valid and constitutional."
Barbara Bartoletti, the legislative director of the League of Women Voters says messages of necessity are not that rare in local politics.
"The ethics bill, the 2 percent tax cap, the gay marriage bill. This is inside Albany. This is the way politics works in Albany. The League has always been opposed to messages of necessity, but it is the way business is done," says Bartoletti. "This is not unusual, this is just being used by that specific population to stop something they desperately want stopped.
Normally, all bills must be in front of legislators for three days to allow them to age, unless a message of necessity is issued. Friday's court order will require the governor and legislature to prove the message was warranted by March 11.