AG formally requests NYS Court of Appeals review state Supreme Court decision dismissing Ben Wassell’s 2014 SAFE Act conviction

May 14, 2019 | BUFFALO, N.Y. – As anticipated by Defendant-Appellant Ben Wassell and his attorney, James Ostrowski, the New York State Attorney General filed a motion Monday to request that the state Court of Appeals review the recent dismissal of Wassell’s 2014 conviction under the SAFE Act. In a unanimous decision on April 26, 2019, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the state Attorney General’s Office, headed by the disgraced Eric Schneiderman at the time of initial legal action, failed to demonstrate legal authority to prosecute the SAFE Act violations originally levelled against Wassell.

“I’m not terribly surprised the Attorney General’s office is feigning an attempt to fight last month’s outcome in state Supreme Court, awarding a stunning victory to Ben Wassell and the cause of Second Amendment civil rights in New York State,” 2AWNY.COM Civil Rights Advocate Steve Felano said. “No doubt, Andrew Cuomo’s ego has been bruised by the state’s legal defeat, and thus the AG feels compelled to punch back, however feeble that punch might be. The AG’s move to appeal the dismissal of Wassell’s SAFE Act conviction appears strikingly similar to New York City’s recent weak attempt to halt the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the NYSRPA v. NYC case, set to move forward in late 2019. Both moves to stymie the inevitable demise of unconstitutional imperial gun control edicts in New York State rely on light arguments just a few pages in length that will fail to impress any court of competence. Indeed, the argument produced by New York City was unpersuasive, as evidenced by the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of the city’s request to sideline the NYSRPA case. It’s quite obvious that the progressive autocrats presiding over New York State government are terrified at the likely deliverance of Second Amendment strict judicial review via the outcome of the NYSRPA case, and the fact that the Wassell victory marks the first step towards SAFE Act repeal. Given this, the organs of the nation’s least free state feel compelled to demonstrate to their progressive base that they ‘tried to do something’ to save gun control, no matter how ineffectual that ‘something’ might be. This whole feeble attempt to reverse the Wassell court victory is much like the blanket unconstitutional magazine capacity and so-called ‘assault weapon’ bans contained within the SAFE Act – they purport to do ‘something’ about so-called ‘gun violence,’ but really accomplish nothing whatsoever, as evidenced by the latest academic findings from Boston University and Harvard researchers.”

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Should the New York State Court of Appeals agree to review the Wassell decision and award victory to the state Attorney General, it is possible that Wassell could face reindictment under the SAFE Act – a type of double jeopardy that would be vigorously opposed by Second Amendment civil rights advocates in New York and beyond. Additionally, a fresh audience of Court of Appeals judges could result in review of the compelling Second Amendment arguments made by Attorney Jim Ostrowski that were not addressed by the state Supreme Court in last month’s ruling. Such a turn of events could place the constitutionality of the SAFE Act back under the microscope and do so in New York State’s highest court, potentially resulting in an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and the overturn of the SAFE Act.

2AWNY is not giving up the fight to repeal the SAFE Act in total, and the assault against Albany’s imperial gun control regime will continue. The entirety of state government should take notice.

To learn more about any of the above, please contact Steve Felano at (518) 852-1863 or [email protected].

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2AWNY is a force multiplier for the numerous Second Amendment civil rights advocacy enterprises forming the backbone of Western New York’s vibrant gun culture. We act as a 2A news and information distribution, policy analysis, and organizational driver for the many interest groups seeking to defend and expand Second Amendment civil rights throughout the region. 2AWNY is dedicated to assisting in the organization, promotion, and funding of legal challenges to the unconstitutional New York State gun control regime. We seek to make Western New York the epicenter of New York State’s Second Amendment civil rights renaissance. Learn more at WWW.2AWNY.COM.