Washington, D.C., November 14, 2018 - This week, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Worman v. Healey, supporting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. The ban prohibits the guns used in mass shootings in Pittsburgh, Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and elsewhere, and is similar to bans in several other states that all have been upheld as constitutional. While the plaintiffs claim that the law “tramples on their Second Amendment rights,” as pointed out in the brief, that argument rings false. The full amicus brief can be found here.
In the brief, Brady contends that the Massachusetts assault weapons ban is a prime example of constitutional and responsible lawmaking designed to protect both the public and law enforcement. Brady argues that the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to own assault weapons and high capacity magazines, particularly as they were designed for military use rather than for civilians. Even if such weapons were constitutionally protected, though, the brief says that the Massachusetts ban easily withstands scrutiny because it clearly furthers a significant government interest. “Protecting the public’s health and safety is a compelling interest of the Commonwealth,” Brady argues in the brief. “Banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines - the weapons of choice in the deadliest mass shootings - is an effective means of protecting that interest.”
“Assault weapons are dangerous weapons of war, and Massachusetts is fully justified to restrict their civilian use,” stated Brady Center attorney Mariel Goetz. “As ruling after ruling has made clear, the Second Amendment leaves plenty of room for state and local regulation of firearms, including bans on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. There is simply no common usage of these weapons, and they have no place in common society. The only thing “common” about these weapons is their use by perpetrators of mass shootings. We’re glad we could lend our expertise to this case, and we look forward to seeing the Commonwealth prevail.”
The brief was authored by the Brady Center and a Boston-based team from the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP. “Defending reasonable gun safety measures is an important part of our pro bono efforts at Proskauer,” said Proskauer associate Laura Stafford, who helped author the brief. “We are proud to represent the Brady Center in this matter.” The Proskauer team included Kimberly Mottley, Lindsey Olson Collins, and Steven Sutro, with additional assistance from Gabriela Urias and Joseph Wolf.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is dedicated to reducing gun injuries and deaths in America by stemming all of the causes of gun violence. For more than 25 years, the Brady Center’s legal team has fought in and out of the courts to obtain justice for victims of gun violence, to reform dangerous industry practices, and to defend reasonable gun violence prevention laws. The Brady Center routinely files amicus briefs in state and federal cases involving the Second Amendment or the constitutionality and interpretation of laws affecting gun violence.
Proskauer Rose LLP is an international law firm recognized for its excellence both in practicing law and serving clients. With more than 725 lawyers in 13 offices and approximately 50 areas of practice, Proskauer has the capabilities, experience and creativity to guide clients through their most important legal and business challenges.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.