PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A New York state ban on semi-automatic weapons sets a worrying precedent that could affect the rights of South Dakotans and people across the country to use such weapons in hunting, the South Dakota Attorney General said in a court filing.
South Dakota joined 21 states in supporting a court challenge to New York's ban on semi-automatic weapons. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said semi-automatic guns are among the “arms” protected by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, so the New York ban is unconstitutional.
“Hunting with semi-automatic firearms for pheasant, waterfowl and big game is commonplace in South Dakota,” Jackley said in a statement. “While the ban only applies to New York at this time, the federal court's upholding of the gun ban sets a concerning precedent interpreting limitations on Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens including here in South Dakota.”
A federal judge in December allowed most of New York's new gun control law to stand, rejecting arguments that its bans on large-capacity magazines and the sale of popular semi-automatic rifles violates gun rights.
Judge William Skretny in Buffalo, New York, argued that those provisions in the law are constitutional because they're related to achieving an “important governmental interest” in public safety. The law was adopted following the shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school in late 2012.
The New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association, sportsmen's groups, firearms businesses and gun owners filed the suit.
The “friend of the court” brief signed by the 22 states was filed in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New York.