Twenty-two states have joined an amicus curiae brief urging a federal appeals court to find the New York gun control law championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is unconstitutional.

The coalition of mostly southern and western states is led by Luther Strange, Alabama’s attorney general.

In their brief in Nojay v. Cuomo, 14-0036-cv(l), the attorneys general argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that New York state’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act violates the Second Amendment rights to bear arms.

The attorneys general said that in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects firearms that are “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” They claim that the SAFE Act violates that finding by banning versions of the AR-15 semi-automatic firearm, a gun popular among hunters and sports shooters.

The amici curiae also urged the Second Circuit to apply a strict scrutiny standard when analyzing the constitutionality of the SAFE Act, which it said amounts to a “categorical ban of firearms commonly used for lawful purposes by law-abiding citizens.”

Strange, Alabama Solicitor General Andrew Brasher and Alabama Assistant Solicitor General Megan Kirkpatrick were on the brief.

The Second Circuit has not set a date to hear oral arguments on the SAFE Act appeal.

In late December, Western District of New York Judge William Skretny (See Profile) largely upheld the legality of the SAFE Act (NYLJ, Jan. 2). The lead appellant in the circuit is upstate Assemblyman Bill Nogay.