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Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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October 13, 2023

Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th  Circuit to reverse a lower court’s decision that halted implementation of Hawaii’s prohibition on carrying firearms in and around parks, beaches, banks, financial institutions, parking areas adjacent to government buildings, and bars and restaurants serving alcohol.

Attorney General Raoul and District of Columbia Attorney General Brian Schwalb co-led a coalition of 19 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief to support Hawaii’s designation of these places as sensitive places where individuals cannot carry handguns. 

“States retain the ability to enact reasonable restrictions on where firearms can and cannot be carried in public spaces,” Raoul said. “I will continue to advocate against the scourge of gun violence that has become common in too many communities around Illinois and across the nation.” 

In their brief, Raoul and the coalition argue the Second Amendment allows states to implement reasonable firearm regulations to promote gun safety and protect against gun violence. The coalition also highlights that Hawaii’s challenged provisions fit squarely within a long tradition of constitutionally acceptable regulations designed to meet states’ responsibility to protect their residents, and are consistent with the types of locations that other states have designated as sensitive – designations that limit firearm possession in especially dangerous spaces, around vulnerable populations and where individuals are exercising other constitutionally protected rights. 

Raoul and the coalition also point out that states retain the power to enact laws to protect their residents, and that those laws need not be uniform: states are free to select “solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values,” ensuring that firearm regulations appropriately and effectively address the specific circumstances in each state.

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 the industry accountable, which Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Aug. 12.

Nationally, Attorney General Raoul led coalitions of attorneys general in filing briefs supporting state laws in New Jersey and New York to hold the firearms industry accountable. Raoul has also led coalitions of attorneys general supporting bans in other states 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 Raoul’s 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 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.

Raoul and Schwalb are joined in filing the brief by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.