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Nessel Takes on Fight for State and Local Gun Safety

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today joined 12 other Attorneys General in urging the Supreme Court to uphold a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling which held that states and localities can impose certain types of firearm regulations when they are substantially related to an important government objective, such as the protection of their residents.

“I am proud to join with my colleagues to preserve the right for state and local governments to implement common-sense gun safety regulations,” said Nessel.

In 2013, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and three individual residents of New York City filed a suit challenging the then-existing New York City regulation in the Southern District of New York (SDNY). The suit challenges regulations New York City enacted restricting the transport of firearms held under a premises license, unless the firearms were unloaded, locked, and transported separately from ammunition to firing ranges within the city. The plaintiffs alleged that the city’s former regulation violated the Second Amendment, the dormant Commerce Clause, and the constitutional right to travel. After losing in the SDNY and, subsequently, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the four plaintiffs took their case to the United States Supreme Court.

The Attorneys General in their brief to the U.S. Supreme Court argue that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms does not prevent states and localities from implementing common-sense gun safety regulations. The plaintiffs’ Commerce Clause and right-to-travel claims should also be rejected, the Attorneys General note in their amicus brief, because states and localities have the right to impose restrictions on firearm transportation.

The Attorneys General also argue that the Supreme Court has made clear that state and local governments throughout the nation may tailor their firearm safety regulations to deal with varying circumstances in each local jurisdiction – a choice New York City made to protect public safety in the largest, densest, and most urbanized major city in the nation.

Nessel joins the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia in filing this brief