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Brady Joins in Suit Defending California’s Assault Weapons Control Act

The Assault Weapons Control Act prohibits the ownership of assault weapons in the State of California

Washington, D.C., June 3, 2020 - Today, Brady joined with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in defending the state’s Assault Weapons Control Act, filing an amicus brief in the case Rupp v. Becerra in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Brady supports the state of California’s right to regulate the ownership of assault weapons to promote and protect public safety and urges the Ninth Circuit to uphold the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division which affirms that right.

Brady Legal Chief Counsel Jonathan Lowy shared:

“There is no constitutional right to military-style assault weapons. Assault-style weapons are intended for combat, designed to inflict maximum injuries and capable of mass murder. These weapons of war have been shown time and again to do just that and have been used in the deadliest mass shooting across the United States, including at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California last year. In fact, since the District Court granted summary judgement in this case last year, there have been over four mass shootings involving assault-style weapons, including the event in Gilroy, that killed 41 and injured over 90 others.

This capacity for carnage and the lifelong costs that victims, their families and their communities bear present a clear interest to the state. Regulating the possession of these weapons protects the public health and safety of the public. The Constitution clearly allows California and any other state to keep these weapons of war off our streets. The District Court was right in upholding the state’s action and we join with California in requesting that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recognize this truth and affirm this judgement.”

Brady Constitutional Litigation Counsel Kelly Sampson shared:

“Over 3,000 people died from gun violence in California in 2018. Since then, gun violence throughout the state, including at Saugus High School and the Gilroy Garlic Festival, has killed, injured, and traumatized many more Californians. While some have used those tragedies to argue against the efficacy of California’s gun safety laws, we know that their arguments are wrong. Gun laws work. In California the gun homicide rate is almost 30 percent lower than the rest of the country; the gun suicide rate in California is about half the national average; the overall firearm death rate in California is 35 percent lower than the national average. Most importantly, rates of gun homicide and gun suicide in California have decreased over the past two decades while the national averages have increased. California’s gun laws are a success story.

The plaintiffs in this case argue that California overstepped its right to regulate assault-style weapons. But, we know that the public health and safety risks posed by assault-style rifles undermine the state’s material interest upholding public safety. That’s why California’s gun safety legislation is so important-- it protects the state’s residents most fundamental right: the right to live. We know that these laws save lives. We know that they work. We urge the Ninth Circuit to uphold the judgement of the District Court in affirming this truth.”

About California’s Assault Weapons Control Act:

California’s Assault Weapons Control Act, fully the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989, bans the ownership, sale, transfer and manufacture of assault-style weapons in California, with certain, specific exceptions.

In 2017, a state affiliate of the NRA brought suit against the state of California, claiming that the long-standing law violated their individual right to own a semi automatic firearm.

On July 22, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division ruled in favor of the state of California.

Brady urges the Ninth District Court of Appeals to uphold the District Court’s judgement.

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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.


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