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James Leads Coalition Seeking To Implement Gun Safety Regulations

NEW YORK — Letitia James, New York state attorney general, is leading a coalition of states seeking to implement gun safety regulations.

In an amicus brief filed recently, James led a coalition of 13 attorneys general seeking to uphold a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that 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.

“We are not only defending the right of state and local governments to enact regulations tailored to their distinctive needs, but, more importantly, their ability to slow down the senseless loss of life that continues to haunt community after community, day after day,” James said.

The suit challenges regulations New York City enacted restricting the transport of firearms held under a premises license, unless the firearms were unloaded, locked, and transported separately from ammunition, and being transported to firing ranges within the city. James and her counterparts are arguing that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms does not prevent state and localities from enacting laws that protect the safety of their residents.

In 2013, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and three individual residents of New York City filed a suit challenging the then-existing New York City regulation in the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs alleged the city’s former regulation violated the Second Amendment, the dormant Commerce Clause and the constitutional right to travel. After losing in the Southern District and, subsequently, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the four plaintiffs took their case to the United States Supreme Court.

James and her counterparts argue 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 they say New York City did to protect public safety. Additionally, the attorneys general argue the plaintiffs’ Commerce Clause and right-to-travel claims should be rejected because states and localities have the right to impose restrictions on firearm transportation.

Joining James in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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