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Two-thirds of State Attorneys General File Amicus Brief Supporting Second Amendment Incorporation

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fairfax, Va. – Two-thirds of the nation’s attorneys general have filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the case of NRA v. Chicago and hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This bi-partisan group of 33 attorneys general, along with the Attorney General of California in a separate filing, agrees with the NRA’s position that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms in the home for self-defense, disagreeing with the decision recently issued by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

“The historical record clearly shows that the Second Amendment was intended to apply to every American in every state in the country,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “As the Supreme Court said clearly in last year’s landmark Heller decision, the Second Amendment protects an individual right that ‘belongs to all Americans’. Two-thirds of America’s state Attorneys General agree.”

The Seventh Circuit claimed precedent bound it from holding in favor of incorporation of the Second Amendment. However, it should have followed the lead of the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Nordyke v. King, which found that those cases don't prevent the Second Amendment from applying to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The Seventh Circuit opinion upholds current bans on the possession of handguns in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois.

California attorney general Edmund G. Brown Jr. is filing a separate brief arguing that the Supreme Court should take up NRA’s appeal and hold that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the States.

“It is fundamentally wrong to violate the civil rights of any law-abiding person based on their zip code,” Cox concluded. “The fundamental right of self-defense must be respected by every jurisdiction throughout our country.”

State Attorneys General Amicus Brief
California Attorney General Amicus Brief

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Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.