Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 13 attorneys general, today announced an amicus brieffiled with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting New York City’s right to enact commonsense gun safety regulations. In the brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that New York City’s independence and sovereignty must be respected as it seeks toensure the safety of its residents.
Raoul and the coalition filed the amicus brief late Monday urging the Supreme Court to uphold a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling which held that states and localities can impose certain types of firearm regulations when they are substantially related to an important government objective, such as the protection of their citizens.
“From my home in Chicago, to Peoria, Rockford, East St. Louis, Danville, and every community in between, gun violence impacts all of Illinois. As Attorney General and as a father, I am committed to advocating for policies that will protect families from gun violence,” Raoul said. “It is imperative that states maintain the right to enact laws that address the unique circumstances within their borders and keep their communities safe.”
In 2013, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and three residents of New York City filed a lawsuit challenging the then-existing New York City regulation in the Southern District of New York (SDNY). The regulation restricted the transport of firearms held under a premises license, unless the firearms are unloaded, locked, carried separate from ammunition, and transported within city limits. The plaintiffs alleged that the regulation violated the Second Amendment, the dormant Commerce Clause, and the constitutional right to travel. After losing in the SDNY and, subsequently, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, the four plaintiffs took their case to the United States Supreme Court.
In the amicus brief, Raoul and the states argue that the Supreme Court has made clear that state and local governments throughout the nation may tailor their firearm safety regulations to deal with varying circumstances in each local jurisdiction, which is what New York City did to protect public safety in the largest, densest, and most urbanized major city in the nation. Additionally, Raoul and the attorneys general make clear that the plaintiffs’ Commerce Clause and right-to-travel claims should also be rejected because states and localities have the right to impose restrictions on firearm transportation.
Joining Attorney General Raoul in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.