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Post date: June 13 2018

A.G. Underwood Joins Coalition Of Attorneys General Defending Common Sense Gun Safety Laws

News from the New York Attorney General's Office 

June 13, 2018

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060 


12 AGs File Amicus Brief in Support of State Laws Limiting Public Carry of Firearms

NEW YORK  – Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today joined a coalition of 12 Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief that defends the constitutionality of a Massachusetts gun law preventing individuals from carrying a firearm in public unless they demonstrate an individualized need to do so.

“State and local law enforcement must be able to enforce common sense policies to keep our communities safe,” said Attorney General Underwood. “This office will continue to do everything in our power to protect New Yorkers from the scourge of gun violence.”

Filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the brief notes that widespread public carrying of firearms has been shown to increase violent crime and homicide. Moreover, the brief notes, between 2007 and 2016, concealed-carry permit holders shot and killed at least 17 law enforcement officers along with more than 800 private citizens.

The coalition’s amicus brief explains that allowing widespread public carrying of firearms poses risks from civilians “without sufficient training to use and maintain control of their weapons,” and would force members of law enforcement “to take extra precautions … effectively treating encounters between police and the community that are now routine, friendly, and trusting as high-risk stops.”

“This is why (state) legislatures and law enforcement have … opted to strike a permissible balance between granting handgun permits to those persons known to be in need of self-protection and precluding a dangerous proliferation of handguns on the streets,” the brief notes.

“To be sure, multiple other states chose to adopt unlimited public carry laws, but the Constitution embraces the right of each state to make different choices based on local needs,” the brief asserts.  “Simply put, state legislatures have the power to decide how best to address the carrying of guns in public, and nothing in the Second Amendment is to the contrary.”      

Today’s amicus filing was led by the New Jersey Attorney General and signed by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Rhode Island, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.