Attorney General Becerra Joins Coalition in Defending States’ Rights to Implement Gun Safety Laws, Argues Strong, Reasonable Gun Laws Save Lives

Friday, November 2, 2018
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Brief argues that the Second Amendment leaves room for states to implement reasonable firearm regulations 

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a coalition of 16 Attorneys General supporting New Jersey and its defense of reasonable gun legislation that restricts large-capacity magazines. The brief argues that states have the right to implement laws that promote public safety, prevent crime, and reduce the harmful effects of gun violence.

“As states continue to lead the fight in combatting gun violence, one thing remains clear – implementing strong, reasonable gun laws saves lives,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Every state has a right to keep its communities safe from preventable gun violence. We will continue to defend commonsense gun-safety laws that protect our communities and combat gun violence.”

In June 2018, New Jersey enacted a law banning the possession of firearm magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. In doing so, New Jersey joined the District of Columbia and six other states, including California, with similar restrictions, which federal courts of appeals have previously upheld. The law was challenged, but the district court denied a motion to enjoin the law. That decision was appealed and is currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

In today’s amicus brief, led by the District of Columbia, the Attorneys General argue that states may enact regulations aimed at minimizing the adverse effects of firearm violence while preserving the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. In particular, the brief emphasizes that large-capacity magazines are often used in mass shootings, and that the challenged restrictions are vital as states seek to reduce the lethality of those incidents when they occur. The Attorneys General assert that, “states have primary responsibility for ensuring public safety, which includes a duty to reduce the likelihood that their citizens will fall victim to preventable firearm violence, and to minimize fatalities and injuries when that violence does occur.”

Attorney General Becerra joined the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington in filing today’s amicus brief.

A copy of the brief is available here.

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