Press Release

Press Release AG Healey Joins State Attorneys General in Supporting New Jersey’s Ban on Large-capacity Magazines

Court Brief Argues that the Second Amendment Permits Reasonable Gun Safety Laws
For immediate release:
11/02/2018
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey Joins State Attorneys General in Supporting New Jersey’s Ban on Large-capacity Magazines

Meggie Quackenbush

BostonAttorney General Maura Healey today joined 16 state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief defending New Jersey’s ban on large-capacity magazines. In the brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the states argue that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution permits states to enact reasonable firearms restrictions that protect public safety, prevent crime and reduce the harm caused by gun violence.

The states filed today’s brief in Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs Inc. v. Attorney General of New Jersey, a lawsuit filed by the New Jersey affiliate of the National Rifle Association that sought to prevent a 2018 law prohibiting the possession of large-capacity magazines, which hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, from taking effect.

“Large-capacity magazines have been present at so many high-profile mass shootings, from Sandy Hook to Las Vegas. They are a threat to public safety and have no place in civilian life,” said AG Healey. “I am proud to support New Jersey’s ban and we will fight any attempt to restrict states’ rights to enact common-sense legislation that protects the public from gun violence.” 

New Jersey enacted its ban on large-capacity magazines to protect residents from gun violence and to reduce the number of casualties and fatalities from potential mass shootings. Several states, including Massachusetts, have enacted similar laws banning large-capacity magazines, which have been upheld as reasonable firearm restrictions by federal courts.

In today’s amicus brief, the states and the District of Columbia collectively argue that a ban on large-capacity magazines is a reasonable restriction that New Jersey has the right to adopt because:

  • The Second Amendment does not prevent states from enacting common-sense gun regulations: States are entitled to adopt reasonable restrictions on firearms to address the conditions within their borders and protect public safety. Restricting access to large-capacity magazines is a reasonable restriction because it would reduce firearm injuries and deaths while leaving many other options open for individuals who wish to exercise the core Second Amendment right to self-defense. 
  • States have a responsibility to prevent gun violence and protect public safety: States have primary responsibility for ensuring public safety. This includes a duty to reduce the likelihood that their citizens will fall victim to preventable firearm violence, and to minimize fatalities and injuries when that violence does occur. The brief notes that deciding how best to protect the safety of State residents is a question better suited to legislatures than courts.
  • Regulating large-capacity magazines protects the public: Large-capacity magazines are especially attractive to mass shooters and criminals, posing increased risks to innocent civilians and law enforcement, and there is no proof that large-capacity magazines are necessary, or even commonly used, for self-defense. 

In September 2018, a lower court denied the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs’ request for a preliminary injunction. The Association appealed to the Third Circuit, where the case is being heard on an expedited basis.

Today’s brief was led by the District of Columbia and joined by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

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Media Contact for AG Healey Joins State Attorneys General in Supporting New Jersey’s Ban on Large-capacity Magazines

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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