New Jersey Leads Multistate Action to Uphold Weapon Restrictions and Protect Domestic Violence Victims

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New Jersey Office of the Attorney General weapon restrictions

TRENTON – The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has taken a firm stance against the gun lobby, leading two pivotal friend-of-the-court filings aimed at upholding weapon restrictions.

In a recent move, New Jersey co-headed an amicus brief with 18 states, supporting Delaware’s restrictions on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines (LCMs) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This comes after the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware confirmed the constitutionality of these laws earlier in March.

Parallelly, New Jersey, along with 25 other states, has approached the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging a lower court’s ruling that could potentially re-arm domestic violence abusers. This case, United States v. Rahimi, saw the Fifth Circuit overturn, a federal law that prevented individuals with domestic violence restraining orders from accessing firearms.

Both these court actions emphasize the tangible public safety threats that such firearm laws aim to mitigate. Assault weapons and LCMs, known for their capacity to cause mass casualties, have been at the forefront of numerous tragic mass shootings in the U.S. On the other hand, laws restricting gun access to those with domestic violence restraining orders have proven to save lives, reducing homicides of intimate partners and law enforcement officers.

First Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay V. Ruotolo commented on the matter, stating, “States are responsible for the public health and safety of their residents… That holds true whether we are talking about a victim of domestic violence or shielding New Jerseyans from the kind of mass casualties that are too common as a result of dangerous weapons and features like assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that firearm deaths are at an all-time high. In 2020, firearm-related injuries were among the top five causes of death for individuals aged 1-44 in the U.S.

In the Third Circuit case, the state attorneys general collectively argue that Delaware’s restrictions on assault weapons and LCMs align with the Second Amendment. They believe these weapons aren’t protected by the amendment as they aren’t commonly used for self-defense.

The amicus brief was co-led by New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell, with support from 16 other states.

In the U.S. Supreme Court case, the 25 attorneys general emphasized that nearly every state has laws limiting firearm access for those with domestic violence restraining orders. They argue that the appeals court ruling jeopardizes domestic violence victims and hampers the efforts of both the federal government and states to ensure the safety of their residents.