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June 22, 2020


Raoul & 16 Attorneys General Argue that States Have the Right to Use Varied Measures to Protect Residents from Gun Violence

Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today led a coalition of 16 attorneys general defending California’s requirement that gun dealers conduct background checks prior to all ammunition sales and that all ammunition sales occur face-to-face. In an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Raoul and the coalition argue that states have the right to enact reasonable firearm restrictions that protect public safety and reduce the prevalence of gun violence.

Raoul and the coalition filed the brief in Rhode v. Becerra, a lawsuit challenging two of California’s ammunition sale requirements that were enacted after the state’s voters approved Proposition 63. In April, a lower court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing the challenged regulations. That injunction has been stayed pending California’s appeal to the 9th Circuit, where it argues that the requirements are constitutional.

“States have the right and responsibility to enact laws and policies that will help protect residents from gun violence,” Raoul said. “I urge the court to allow these commonsense ammunition regulations to remain in place so that California can continue to keep its residents safe.”

In the brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that requiring a background check for ammunition sales and placing restrictions on shipping ammunition directly to purchasers are reasonable requirements that California has the right to adopt because:

  • The Second Amendment allows states to enact new and varied measures in response to gun violence. The brief explains that states are entitled to adopt reasonable restrictions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their residents, including preventing crime and minimizing gun violence. Background checks and face-to-face sale requirements would prevent prohibited individuals from purchasing ammunition without infringing on law-abiding individuals exercising their Second Amendment rights. The plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that anyone has been improperly prohibited from, or unduly delayed in, purchasing ammunition as a result of these laws.
  • States have a responsibility to prevent gun violence and protect public safety. The brief explains that states have primary responsibility for ensuring public safety. By implementing these new measures to prevent dangerous or other prohibited individuals from obtaining ammunition, California can reduce the likelihood that their residents will become victims of preventable gun violence.

Joining Raoul in the brief are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.


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