Attorney General James Takes Action to Protect Commonsense Gun Laws

AG James Joins Multistate Coalition of 18 Attorneys General to Defend States’ Authority to Restrict Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today joined a multistate coalition of 18 attorneys general in defending commonsense gun safety laws and the rights of states to enact measures to protect their residents from gun violence. The amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit urges the court to allow Massachusetts’ decades-old ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines—ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition—to remain in place. 

“Assault rifles and large capacity magazines are weapons of war, and states must have the right to protect our residents and our communities,” said Attorney General James. “Large capacity magazines and assault weapons cause mass casualties and are designed for use by professionals on the battlefield. I am proud to stand with my fellow attorneys general to fight so that this gun safety measure remains in place because all people deserve to feel safe in their homes and communities.”

In the amicus brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Attorney General James and the coalition argue that states have historically imposed restrictions on dangerous weapons, accessories, and ammunition that pose a threat to communities and are not suitable for self-defense. The coalition further asserts that assault weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment because they are not suitable for self-defense.

Attorney General James and the coalition also note that Massachusetts’ assault weapons law is consistent with the country’s historical tradition of regulating and restricting new and distinctively dangerous forms of weaponry. Given these reasons, the coalition urges the court to uphold this law as is and maintain the authority for states to protect their communities and residents through commonsense gun safety legislation. 

Attorney General James has been a leader in the fight to protect New Yorkers and communities across the nation from gun violence. In April 2024, Attorney General James took down gun traffickers for selling ghost guns and other firearms in Central New York. In March 2024, Attorney General James secured a $7.8 million judgment against gun retailer Indie Guns for illegally selling ghost gun components in New York. In February 2024, Attorney General James announced the takedowns of a gun trafficking network that sold ghost guns and assault-style rifles and a narcotics trafficking network in Dutchess County. In December 2023, Attorney General James and the New York State Police indicted a Manhattan man for trafficking guns and narcotics. In March 2023, Attorney General James announced the takedown of a ghost gun and narcotics trafficking operation in New York City. In August 2023, Attorney General James took action with a coalition of 18 attorneys general to defend Delaware’s ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. In December 2022, Attorney General James announced the takedown of a ghost gun trafficking operation in Queens and Westchester counties.

Joining Attorney General James in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawai'i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.