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Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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May 19, 2023

ChicagoAttorney General Kwame Raoul today lead a coalition of 21 attorneys general filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit supporting the federal government’s prohibition on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federally-licensed retailers to individuals under the age of 21.

“Protecting our communities, particularly our youth, from gun violence, is my top priority as Attorney General,” Raoul said. “The federal prohibition on the sale of handguns to individuals under the age of 21 is a commonsense restriction that protects the public from gun violence by preventing dangerous firearms from getting into the hands of those who will not use them responsibly.”

Raoul and the coalition explain the Second Amendment allows governments to enact sensible and varied regulations to protect the public, including age-based restrictions on the purchase, possession or use of firearms. Although regulations vary based on each state’s needs, virtually every state has imposed some form of age-based regulations on firearms, and at least 19 states and the District of Columbia have imposed regulations mirroring the federal minimum age requirement of 21 to purchase handguns.  

The brief is the most recent step in Attorney General Raoul’s work 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. Additionally, Raoul proposed the Firearms Industry Responsibility Act in Illinois to hold the industry accountable, which was passed by the General Assembly and will next be sent to the governor for final approval.

Nationally, Attorney General Raoul led a coalition to preserve states’ authority to bar individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders from accessing guns. He also led coalitions of attorneys general in filing briefs supporting state laws in New Jersey and New York to hold the firearms industry accountable. Raoul 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 persistently 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 efforts to prevent gun violence, the Attorney General’s office supports victim 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 filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.