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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


For media inquiries only, contact:  
Lara Sisselman, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
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~ Brief Says 2nd Amendment Leaves States Room to Implement Reasonable Firearm Regulations like a Ban on High-Capacity Magazines ~

RICHMOND (October 19, 2017) - Attorney General Mark R. Herring has joined a coalition of 12 states and the District of Columbia in filing a friend-of-the-court brief urging the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to recognize the right of states to enact commonsense gun safety measures like California's ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines. The brief urges the court to overturn a lower court's order preliminarily enjoining the California law, and argues that nothing about the Second Amendment, under Supreme Court precedent, prevents states and the District from enacting reasonable gun regulations.


"Too many families in Virginia and around the country know the pain and loss of gun violence, and it's critical that states like Virginia have the ability to enact commonsense gun safety measures to help keep people safe" said Attorney General Mark Herring. "Large capacity magazines allow dangerous individuals to kill and injure with stunning and heartbreaking speed. The Supreme Court has consistently recognized that the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms while still allowing for commonsense, evidence-based policy decisions to save lives and promote public safety."


The California law bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. These large-capacity magazines, or LCMs, are disproportionally used by mass shooters to kill and injure large numbers of people quickly, including law enforcement officers.


"Both common sense and empirical evidence suggest that prohibiting LCMs will reduce the number of crimes in which LCMs are used and reduce the lethality and devastation of gun crime when it does occur," the brief notes. "At the same time, there is no proof that LCMs are necessary-or even commonly used-for self-defense."


The brief, available here, underscores that whatever policy judgment an individual state may make, Supreme Court precedent supports a state's ability to experiment with and reform gun laws. "In dismissing California's reliance on the empirical and anecdotal evidence before it, the court below applied a cramped and overly demanding standard of what constitutes substantial evidence and eliminated the deference to which California's predictive judgments are entitled," the brief says.


In addition to Attorney General Herring, the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington joined the brief.