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Attorney General William Tong



AG Tong Joins Multistate Coalition Fighting to Protect New York’s Right to Employ Commonsense Gun Safety Regulation

(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong today joined a multistate coalition fighting to ensure that New York’s independence and sovereignty—along with the rights of all states and municipalities-- are protected in its effort to implement commonsense gun safety regulations. In an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court last night, Connecticut joined a coalition of 13 Attorneys General seeking to uphold that the right of states and localities to impose certain types of firearm regulations when they are substantially related to an important government objective, such as the protection of their citizens.

"States and municipalities have a right and an obligation to protect the public from gun violence. There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits states and municipalities from taking these commonsense measures—as we have done here in Connecticut. The New York state legislature has already eliminated the local regulation in question. The gun lobby should drop this moot challenge," said Attorney General William Tong.

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). These 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.

In the amicus brief filed last night and led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, the states argue that the regulation is no longer in effect, and thus the U.S. Supreme case is moot. The states also advocate for the right of state and local governments throughout the nation to tailor their firearm safety regulations to deal with varying circumstances in each local jurisdiction. Additionally, the Attorneys General make clear that the plaintiffs’ Commerce Clause and right-to-travel claims should also be rejected because states and localities have the right to impose restrictions on firearm transportation.

Joining Attorney General Tong in filing the amicus brief are the Attorneys General of New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

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