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Miller v. Becerra: Protecting States’ Ability to Regulate Military-Style Weaponry

Case Information: Miller v. Becerra, No. 3:19-cv-01537 (S.D. Cal. amicus brief filed January 24, 2020).

At Issue: In 2019, plaintiffs filed a Second Amendment challenge to California’s Assault Weapon Control Act (“the Act”). Plaintiffs claim that the Act violates the Second Amendment because they have a constitutional right to possess military-style semiautomatic assault rifles like those used to carry out the Newtown, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Parkland mass shootings (among many others); assault handguns like the one used to carry out the Dayton and 101 California shootings; and combat-grade assault shotguns.

Giffords Law Center’s Brief: Our brief argues that the California legislature acted constitutionally by prohibiting a subset of semiautomatic rifles, assault pistols, and assault shotguns whose add-on military features make these weapons uniquely dangerous and facilitate criminal use and mass killings. We further argue that the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court and other courts, does not protect a right to own weapons that were designed for a battlefield, not responsible self-defense in the home. Indeed, every court to have considered challenges to laws banning assault weapons since the Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald has upheld those laws. Our brief then argues that the expert declaration that the Plaintiffs base many of their arguments on should be given no weight considering that its author has been widely discredited for flawed methodology in his research, failing to provide data and evidence to support his claims, failure to publish in peer-reviewed journals, and ethical violations committed in an attempt to defend his work from criticism.

 Read the full text of our amicus brief here.