OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced joining 15 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of states’ rights to enact laws that protect their residents from gun violence. In the brief, the attorneys general urge the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to reverse a decision by a district court blocking enforcement of a New York law, which places reasonable restrictions on who may obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm and prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons in public places like bars, airports, and places of worship. The brief argues that the law is in line with a long tradition of constitutionally acceptable regulations designed to meet states’ responsibility to protect their residents from gun violence.
“At the California Department of Justice, we believe in the power of commonsense gun laws to protect our communities,” said Attorney General Bonta. "Nobody should have to fear gun violence while at work, in school, or at prayer. That’s why laws such as New York’s are critical — they keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, and away from places where people gather to travel, live, and work. My office will continue fighting with every tool at our disposal to protect California families from this epidemic of gun violence.”
New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), passed in July 2022, seeks to ensure that only responsible, law-abiding persons are licensed to carry a firearm, and prohibits guns from being brought into certain sensitive locations. After a group of gun owners and advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit in Antonyuk v. Hochul, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of many parts of the law. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit then put the district judge’s ruling on hold while it considers the appeal. The United States Supreme Court recently denied an application to vacate the Second Circuit’s hold on the preliminary injunction.
In the amicus brief, the attorneys general urge the appeals court to reverse the district court’s order. They argue, specifically, that the provision in the CCIA that requires people to be of “good moral character” to secure a license to carry a firearm is vital to public safety and fits within a long tradition of constitutionally permissible gun regulations. Similarly, they argue that the CCIA’s list of sensitive places where firearms are prohibited — including places of religious worship, daycares, public parks and zoos, airports, buses, places where alcohol is consumed, and theaters — is reasonable and necessary to protect the public from a heightened risk of gun violence in such locations.
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the Attorneys General of Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and The Northern Mariana Islands.
A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.