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South Dakota AG: New York State Gun Laws Set Worrying Precedent

This Feb. 4, 2013, photo illustration in Manassas, Va., shows a man holding a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.  (credit: Getty Images)

This Feb. 4, 2013, photo illustration in Manassas, Va., shows a man holding a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. (credit: Getty Images)

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PIERRE, S.D. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The state attorney general in South Dakota said in a court filing that the 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.

South Dakota joined 21 states in supporting a court challenge to the New York state 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, and 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.

U.S. District Judge William Skretny in Buffalo rejected arguments that the law’s bans on large-capacity magazines and the sale of some semi-automatic rifles violate Second Amendment rights. He said those two features make guns more lethal.

“It does not totally disarm New York’s citizens, and it does not meaningfully jeopardize their right to self-defense,” Skretny said of the law.

Skretny argued that the provisions banning semi-automatic weapons are constitutional because they’re related to achieving an “important governmental interest” in public safety.

The gun control law, which is considered to be the strictest in the nation, was adopted following the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012.

Following its swift passage, thousands converged on the state Capitol to demand a repeal of the law.

The New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association, sportsmen’s groups, firearms businesses and gun owners filed the suit.

The amicus, or “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.

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