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The gun lobby won’t stop pushing its radical interpretation of the Second Amendment in the courts. But we have common sense and evidence on our side, and we’re not backing down.

Our litigation experts track gun safety cases moving through courts across the country to keep you up to date on the latest legal developments. Second Amendment Courtwatch is an in-depth resource on Second Amendment litigation, a fast-evolving area of constitutional law since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in DC v. Heller in 2008.

Our regular updates highlight legal victories for the gun violence prevention movement and detail the gun lobby’s dangerous litigation in courts across the country. We break down the latest developments in key gun policy cases making their way through the courts, tracking the status and deadlines of major cases. Courtwatch is an invaluable tool for those interested in filing an amicus brief, getting involved in a gun safety case, or reporting on gun laws and the Second Amendment.

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Our experts can speak to the full spectrum of gun violence prevention issues. Have a question? Email us at media@giffords.org.

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Tracking the Latest Cases

NYSRPA v. Bruen: Conservative Supreme Court Majority Radically Expands Second Amendment

On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court issued its decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, the most important Second Amendment case the Court has decided in over a decade.  In a 6-3 ruling, the Court struck down New York’s century-old public carry licensing law and announced a radical new framework for evaluating Second Amendment challenges.  The Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a loaded handgun in public for self-defense.  The Court concluded that New York’s public carry law, which required New York residents to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a concealed carry license, violated this newly declared Second Amendment right.

The Court announced a radical new test for courts to use when considering Second Amendment challenges to federal, state, and local gun laws.  Previously, courts had almost universally applied balancing tests to Second Amendment challenges, weighing the government’s public safety interests that support reasonable gun laws against an individual’s Second Amendment rights.  Writing for the six-justice conservative majority, Justice Thomas rejected these balancing tests and instead held that the government must demonstrate that a challenged law is consistent with “the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

At the same time, the Court indicated that various gun laws would withstand scrutiny under this newly-announced test.  For example, the Court compared New York’s public carry law to other states that use objective standards for evaluating applicants for concealed carry permits and suggested that these other state laws likely do not violate the Second Amendment on their face.  In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Kavanaugh observed that the Second Amendment allows for a “variety” of gun regulations, including those protecting so-called “sensitive places.”

For more information on the decision in Bruen, read our press release condemning the decision, our joint press release with Brady, Everytown, and March For Our Lives, and commentary from our experts, including Senior Litigation Attorney Esther Sanchez-Gomez’s piece  for SCOTUSBlog’s Symposium on Bruen.  Additional coverage and commentary on Bruen is available in the Washington Post, New York Times, Slate, and The Atlantic.

The Aftermath of Bruen

Bruen marks a sea change in how courts evaluate Second Amendment challenges. Here are a few notable recent decisions that illustrate the impact of Bruen:

Hardaway v. Nigrelli: A federal judge struck down New York’s restriction on carrying firearms in houses of worship.  Although the court recognized that Bruen had approved of limits on carrying weapons in “sensitive places,” the court held that houses of worship did not qualify as “sensitive places” because there was not a sufficient historical record justifying the restriction.

United States v. Price: A federal judge held that the longstanding federal law barring individuals from possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers violated the Second Amendment.  The court found there was no historical tradition prohibiting individuals from possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers.  Although the court conceded that serial numbers barely existed at the time of the founding and did not arise until the mass production of firearms, the court still concluded that the federal government could not bar individuals from possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers.

United States v. Bullock: A federal judge faced with a Second Amendment challenge to the federal ban on felons possessing firearms issued an order asking whether he should appoint a historian to assist in evaluating the law’s constitutionality.  The judge expressed frustration with the Bruen approach, explaining that lawyers and judges are not trained historians and that the historical readings often advanced by litigants are either incomplete or inaccurate. 

Our experts are continuing to track the fallout from Bruen and to provide updates on the latest developments.

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SPOTLIGHT

GUNS & DEMOCRACY

The use of guns to intimidate and threaten voters, elected officials, and peaceful demonstrators poses a serious threat to our democracy. We’ve gathered resources on the deadly connection between guns and extremism, and how to stop it.

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Licensing & Background Checks

Maryland Shall Issue v. Hogan 

Challenge to Maryland Handgun Qualification Law (license-to-possess). (D. Md. No. 16-cv-03311; 4th Cir. No. 21-2017, No. 21-2053;  4th Cir. No. 19-1469 (prior appeal))

People v. Brown 

Challenge to Illinois FOID firearm licensing law, brought by criminal defendant. (Ill. Supreme Court No. 127201; White Cty. Cir. Ct.)

Guns Save Life, Inc. v. Raoul 

NRA-backed challenge to Illinois FOID firearm licensing law. (Ill. state court—Sangamon Cnty. Cir. Ct. No. 2019 CH 000180)

Basset v. Slatery

Challenge to Tennessee’s permitless carry law brought by individuals between the age of eighteen and twenty. (E.D. Tenn. No. 21-CV-00152)

Gun Owners of America v. Philadelphia 

Challenge to Philadelphia law prohibiting the creation of 3D printed firearms and components without a federal license. (Federal Docket E.D. Pa. No. 21-cv-2630, State Court Docket No. 21122150, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas)

PRO BONO

Our pro bono partners generously volunteer their time and legal expertise, helping us fight the gun lobby in court and defend lifesaving gun laws. Visit our pro bono partner page to find out more about how to get involved.

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Guns in Public

Young v. Hawaii

Challenge to Hawaii open carry law. (S. Ct. No. 20-1639; 9th Cir. No. 12-17808)

Call, et al. v. Jones III, et al.

Second Amendment challenge to Maryland concealed carry permit law and “good and substantial reason” requirement. (4th Cir. No. 21-1334; D. Md. No. 20-cv-03304)

Wade v. University of Michigan 

Second Amendment challenge to Univ. of Michigan campus gun ban. (Mich. S. Ct. No. 156150)

Flanagan v. Becerra and Nichols v. Newsom

Challenges to California open carry law. (Flanagan v. Becerra: 9th Cir. No. 18-55717. Nichols v. Newsom: 9th Cir. No. 14-55873.)

Livingston v. Logan

Challenge to Hawaii’s open/concealed carry permitting laws. (D. Haw. No. 19-cv-157)

Yukutake v. Connors

Second Amendment challenge to Hawaii registration and permitting laws. (9th Cir. 21-16756; D. Hawaii No. 19-cv-578)

Worth, et al. v. Harrington, et al.

Facial and As-Applied Challenge to Minnesota’s Minimum Age and Public Carry Law. (D. Minn. No. 21-cv-01348)

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LItigation

the courts

Explore our work defending lifesaving gun laws in the courts and fighting to debunk the gun lobby’s dangerous arguments about the Second Amendment.

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Hardware

Ass’n of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol v. Grewal

Second Amendment and Takings Clause challenge to New Jersey LCM possession ban. (S Ct. No. 20-1507; 3d Cir. No. 19-3142)

Duncan v. Bonta

Second Amendment, Takings Clause challenge to California LCM ban. (No. 21-1194; 9th Cir. No. 19-55376; S.D. Cal. No. 17-01017)

Rupp v. Becerra

Second Amendment, other challenges to California assault weapon restrictions and registration. (9th Cir. No. 19-56004; C.D. Ca. 17-cv-746)

Gun Owners of Amer. v. Garland

APA challenge to ATF rule banning bump stocks. (S. Ct. No. 21-1215;6th. Cir. No. 19-1298) 

Modern Sportsman, et al. v. United States; McCutchen v. United States

Takings Clause challenge to ATF rule banning bump stocks, brought by former bump stock sellers and individual owners seeking compensation. (Modern Sportsman, et al. v. United States: Fed. Cir. No. 20-1107; McCutchen v. United States: Fed. Cir. No. 20-1188)

Miller v. Bonta

Second Amendment challenge to California’s assault weapons ban. (9th Cir. No. 21-55608, S.D. Cal. No. 19-cv-1537)

Renna v. Becerra 

Second Amendment challenge to 2020 amendments to California Unsafe Handgun Act. (S.D. Cal. No. 20-cv-02190)

Rainier Arms, et al. v. ATF 

Second Amendment and Administrative Procedure Act challenges to ATF’s regulatory guidance for pistol braces. (N.D. Tex., No. 21-cv-00116)

AMICUS BRIEFS

Time and again, courts have ruled that the Second Amendment is fully compatible with a wide range of gun safety laws. Giffords Law Center and our partners frequently draft and submit amicus curiae—or “friend of the court”—briefs in cases challenging lifesaving gun laws.

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Gun Access

Jones v. Bonta

Challenge to CA minimum age law. (9th Cir. No. 20-56174; C.D. Cal. No. 19-CV-1226)

Mitchell v. Atkins

Commerce clause challenge to WA law prohibiting sale of semiautomatic rifles to out-of-state residents, and Second Amendment challenge to minimum age provision. (9th Cir. No. 20-35827, W.D. Wash. No. 19-cv-05106)

Lara v. Evanchick

Challenge to Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act and PA’s minimum age requirement laws under the Second Amendment. (3d Cir. No. 21-1832; W.D. Pa. No. 20-CV-01582)

Williams v. Garland

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(1) brought by a person convicted of a DUI misdemeanor and given the mandatory minimum sentence, house arrest for ninety days. (3d Cir. No. 19-02694; E.D. Pa. No. 17-cv-02641)

NRA v. Fla. AG 

Challenge to Florida minimum age law. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is fully briefed. (11th Cir. 21-12314;N.D. Fla. No. 18-cv-00137)

Reese v. DOJ 

Challenge to federal handgun minimum age law. (W.D. La. No. 20-cv-01438)

Suarez, et al. v. Evanchick

Challenge to Pennsylvania and Federal Misdemeanor Firearm Prohibitions brought by Binderup, Suarez, and Miller. (M.D. Pa. No. 21-cv-00710)

Meyer et al. v. Raoul et al.

Challenge to Illinois Minimum Age Law. (S.D. Ill. 21-cv-00518)

POST-HELLER LITIGATION

Our Post-Heller Litigation Summary rounds up all the most significant Second Amendment lawsuits and decisions since DC v. Heller.

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COVID-19 Lawsuits

Dark Storm Industries, et al. v. Hochul, et al

Challenge to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.6 ordering the closure of non-essential businesses, and the Order’s application to gun stores, which classifies as essential only firearm sales to law enforcement and military. (2d Cir., No. 20-2725; N.D.N.Y., No. 20-CV-360)

McDougall v. Ventura County; companion case Brandy, et al. v. Villanueva, et al. (En Banc)

Challenge to California, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties’ COVID-related emergency orders, including Second Amendment and 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 challenges to gun store closures. (McDougall v. Ventura County: 9th Cir., No. 20-56220; C.D. Cal., No. 20-CV-2927. Brandy, et al. v. Villanueva, et al.: C.D. Cal., No. 20-CV-02874.) 

McCarthy, et al. v. Baker, et al. 

Challenge to Governor Baker’s Order No. 13, which orders the closure of all non-essential businesses, and does not provide an exception for firearms dealers. (D. Mass., No. 20-CV-10701)

GET THE FACTS

Gun violence is a complex problem, and while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, we must act. Our reports bring you the latest cutting-edge research and analysis about strategies to end our country’s gun violence crisis at every level.

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Commerce Clause

Mitchell v. Atkins 

Commerce clause challenge to WA law prohibiting sale of semiautomatic rifles to out-of-state residents, and Second Amendment challenge to minimum age provision. (9th Cir. No. 20-35827, W.D. Wash. No. 19-cv-05106)

Rhode v. Bonta

Commerce clause and Second Amendment challenge to CA ammunition background checks law. (9th Cir. No. 20-55437; S.D. Cal. No. 18-cv-00802)

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SPOTLIGHT

GUN LAW SCORECARD

The data is clear: states with stronger gun laws have less gun violence. See how your state compares in our annual ranking.

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Litigation against the Gun Industry

Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms Int’l, LLC 

Lawsuit against manufacturers of the assault rifle used at Sandy Hook. (Conn. Sup. Ct. UWY CV15-6050025)

City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson, et al. 

City lawsuit against manufacturers for crime externalities resulting from firearms manufacture and distribution. (Ind. Super. Ct. 45D01-1211-CT-000233)

Parsons, et al. v. Colt’s Manufacturing, et al. 

Wrongful death lawsuit brought by family of Las Vegas victim against manufacturers, alleging defective design foreseeably led to conversion of semiautomatic weapons. (D. Nev. 19-CV-1189; Nev. Dist. Ct. Clark Cnty. Case No. A-19-797891-C)

Gustafson v. Springfield 

Reversed dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims and found the PLCAA unconstitutional. (Pa. Sup. Ct. 207 WDA 2019)

Leyva v. Braziel 

Lawsuit brought by family members of two victims of the Odessa-Midland shooting against the individual who supplied the firearm illegally and against Anderson Manufacturing. (Texas State Court, Ector Cnty., 70th District Court, Dkt. No. A-20-08-0905-CV)

Affirmative Challenges

State v. City of Weston 

Challenge to Florida’s preemption statute which limits local regulation in the field of firearms. (SC21-918; Fla. Dist. Ct. App. No. 1D19-2819

City of St. Louis & St. Louis County v. Missouri, et al. 

Supremacy Clause challenge to Missouri’s nullification law. (SC 99290; Missouri Cir. Ct. 21AC-CC00237)

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SPOTLIGHT


DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY

A joint effort by our country’s premier gun violence prevention organizations, the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce works with the nation’s preeminent law firms to challenge the gun lobby in court and protect Americans’ most fundamental freedom—the right to live.

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