Attorney General Tong Joins Amicus Brief Supporting Florida's Firearm Age Regulation(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general led by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in defending a Florida law prohibiting the sale of firearms to people under the age of 21. In an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the coalition argues that states have the right to enact reasonable, age-based firearm regulations that protect public safety and reduce the prevalence of gun violence.
The coalition filed the brief in National Rifle Association v. Commissioner, Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The lawsuit challenges a provision of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act that generally prohibits the purchase of firearms by individuals under the age of 21. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that the law infringes upon the Second Amendment rights of young people. A lower court in this case rejected that argument, holding that laws regulating the sale of firearms to young people are longstanding and constitutional.
“The United States Supreme Court has previously recognized that states have the right to enact sensible gun laws that protect public safety,” Attorney General Tong said. “Our coalition is urging the court to support Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which was passed after the deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. high school and restricts firearm sales to people under the age of 21. Doing so is vital to prevent further senseless and tragic gun violence.”
In the brief, the coalition argues that the Second Amendment gives states the ability to enact sensible regulations designed to protect the public, including age-based restrictions that limit the ability of people younger than 21 to purchase firearms. Although regulations differ based on each state’s needs, virtually every state and the District of Columbia has imposed some age-based restrictions on the sale or use of firearms, and at least 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted a minimum age requirement of 21 for the sale or possession of certain categories of firearms. Similarly, courts across the country have consistently upheld age-based regulations, noting that the goal of these regulations is to deter crime and promote public safety.
Joining Attorneys General Raoul and Tong in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.