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AG Nessel Joins Coalition In Support of Federal Law Prohibiting Felons from Possessing Firearms

LANSING Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general, led by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, in filing an amicus brief defending the federal law that prohibits people who have been convicted of felonies from possessing firearms.  

In their brief, filed in U.S. v Prince, AG Nessel and other attorneys general ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to overturn a lower court ruling that found the law unconstitutional. 

“The federal felon-in-possession law is a commonsense solution that restricts firearm possession to law-abiding citizens,” Nessel said. “Nearly all states, including Michigan, have similar statutes on the books, which are critical to our efforts to protect public safety and prevent those who have demonstrated a disregard for the law from possessing weapons which could pose a threat to society. I stand firmly with my colleagues in asserting the constitutionality of the felon-in-possession law and its importance in protecting our families and communities.” 

The coalition argues that the Second Amendment allows governments to enact sensible and varied regulations to protect the public. In addition to the federal law, nearly every state in the country has imposed limitations on the possession of firearms by those convicted of felonies, and many have maintained those laws for nearly a century. The attorneys general also explain that while the current federal restriction establishes a clear and administrable standard, any alternative approach would be burdensome and virtually impossible to administrate. 

Supporting the federal felony firearm ban is AG Nessel’s most recent action to address the national scourge of gun violence. Since taking office in 2019, Nessel has been a vocal supporter of gun safety measures. Those measures include pushing for a federal ban on handgun sales to anyone under the age of 21, greater accountability for gun manufacturers, initiatives to rid the streets of untraceable ghost guns, and a prohibition on firearms in the Capitol and other state buildings.  

In September of last year, AG Nessel gave testimony before the Michigan Senate in favor of gun safety laws that would increase the number of background checks for gun purchasers, set safe storage standards, and introduce an Extreme Risk Protection Order procedure to prevent individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing or owning a firearm for eight years following their conviction. That legislation was signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November of 2023. 

AG Nessel is joined in filing the brief by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.


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