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Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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October 27, 2023

ChicagoAttorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 19 attorneys general, defended the District of Columbia’s (D.C.) efforts to restrict the capacity of firearms magazines within its borders in an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The coalition argues that D.C.’s law prohibiting the possession and sale of large-capacity magazines does not violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

“Like Illinois, D.C. is actively protecting its citizens and communities from deadly firearms, and I support this law to prohibit possession and sale of large-capacity magazines.,” Raoul said. “I will continue to collaborate with fellow attorneys general who prioritize public safety by restricting access to large-capacity magazines.” 

The District of Columbia law at issue in the case, Hanson v. District of Columbia, permits D.C. residents to possess and sell firearms magazines that accept up to 10 rounds of ammunition, but prohibits the possession and sale of larger capacity magazines.  The plaintiffs argue that the law violates the Second Amendment, but the trial court disagreed, concluding they were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim and allowing the law to remain in effect while the case proceeds. The plaintiffs have appealed that decision. 

Raoul and the attorneys general argue in the brief that D.C.’s large-capacity magazine law is a constitutionally permissible restriction because states can and do impose restrictions on dangerous weapons, accessories and ammunition that pose a threat to communities; that large-capacity magazines are not “Arms,” and they are not commonly used or suitable for self-defense; and that the law is consistent with a historical tradition of regulating and imposing restrictions on new and distinctively dangerous forms of weaponry. 

The brief is Attorney General Raoul’s most recent action to address gun violence throughout Illinois and across the nation. The Attorney General’s office works with state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to increase awareness of Illinois’ red flag law and to address gaps in Illinois’ firearms licensing system. The office also continues to prosecute individuals who lie on FOID card applications. 

Raoul also proposed the Firearms Industry Responsibility Act in Illinois to hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable, which Governor JB Pritzker signed into law on Aug. 12. Nationally, Attorney General Raoul led coalitions of attorneys general in filing briefs supporting state laws in New Jersey and New York that similarly hold gun industry members accountable for their own, unlawful actions. 

Raoul has also led coalitions of attorneys general supporting bans on carrying firearms in sensitive areas such as in schools, on public transit and in places of worship. Attorney General Raoul has consistently advocated at the federal and state levels to strengthen regulation of 3D-printed guns and ghost guns. Illinois law now prohibits ghost guns, but the office continues to fight in federal court to help defend a recent rule closing the federal loophole. Additionally, Attorney General Raoul successfully filed and resolved a lawsuit to get the federal firearm license of an unscrupulous arms manufacturer revoked. 

In addition to supporting law enforcement, the Attorney General’s office supports victims service providers around Illinois that offer trauma-informed services for crime victims and their families. Raoul’s Crime Victims Services Division administers a host of programs and services to assist survivors of violent crime. More information is available on the Attorney General’s website

Joining Raoul in submitting the brief were attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington.