ALBANY, N.Y. - County sheriffs have asked to join the federal lawsuit challenging New York's tough new gun restrictions, calling some provisions vague and impossible to enforce fairly.
The New York State Sheriffs' Association and five individual sheriffs are asking U.S. District Judge William Skretny to add their position to the record. They support gun rights advocates seeking to block enforcement of new bullet limits for magazines and the tighter definition of assault weapons.
The sheriffs agree with the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association that the law, passed after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, is unconstitutional because it will prevent citizens from keeping commonly used firearms for home defense.
"The Supreme Court has confirmed that the Second Amendment protects arms typically possessed by law-abiding citizens, and identified that the right of self-defense is 'core' protected conduct that is at its zenith in the home," the sheriffs' brief said. "At a minimum, laws that criminalize the most common rifle in America today - a rifle that is often selected precisely for its self-defense capabilities - impinge upon that core right. The same is true of laws banning standard-capacity magazines."
The law bans magazines with a capacity of more than 10 bullets and generally prohibits loading them with more than seven. It defines assault weapons as semi-automatics with detachable magazines and a single military-style feature such as a pistol grip. The old definition required two such features.
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