Attorney General James Takes Action to Protect Laws Restricting Large-Capacity Gun Magazines

AG James and a Coalition of 19 Attorneys General Filed an Amicus Brief to Support California Law Challenged in Federal Court

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James and a coalition of 19 attorneys general filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in support of a California law that restricts large-capacity gun magazines. The case, Duncan v. Bonta, concerns the constitutionality of a California law that allows for possession and sale of firearms magazines that accept up to ten rounds of ammunition, but prohibits larger capacity magazines. 

“Large-capacity magazines make weapons even more deadly and can lead to horrific mass-casualty events,” said Attorney General James. “These dangerous accessories are intended to ensure the maximum number of bullets can be fired without the shooter needing to take time to reload. The pain, suffering, and loss of life that can be inflicted by a single shooter utilizing large-capacity magazines is horrific, which is why these dangerous accessories have no place in our communities. I am proud to step up and work with my fellow attorneys general to ensure this commonsense gun safety measure is not stripped away.”  

Attorney General James and the coalition of attorneys general argue that California’s large-capacity magazine law is a constitutionally permissible restriction by asserting that states have widely adopted reasonable restrictions on the public carry, possession, and sale of many types of weapons, accessories, and forms of ammunition that are not suitable for self-defense and undermine the public’s safety. The coalition also noted that large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment because they are not “arms,” and they are not commonly used or suitable for self-defense.  

Additionally, Attorney General James and the coalition assert that California’s law is consistent with a historical tradition of regulating and imposing restrictions on new and distinctively dangerous forms of weaponry, and urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to uphold this law. 

Joining Attorney General James in filing this amicus brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.  

Attorney General James has been a leader in the fight to protect New Yorkers, and Americans, from the scourge of gun violence. Last week, Attorney General James successfully argued against Second Amendment challenges in six cases in the New York State Court of Appeals involving gun possession charges. In May, Attorney General James sued a gun accessory manufacturer that aided the Buffalo mass shooter. In April, Attorney General James removed more than 3,000 guns off New York’s streets in a single day through the first-ever statewide gun buyback program. In March, Attorney General James and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force took down a firearm and drug trafficking operation that illegally sold guns, including ghost guns and assault weapons, in New York City. Also in March, Attorney General James secured a court order banning 10 gun distributors from selling and shipping ghost gun parts into New York. In December 2022, Attorney General James and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force removed 57 illegal firearms, including 51 ghost guns. In June 2022, Attorney General James sued 10 national gun distributors for bringing ghost gun parts into New York.