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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

Among other cases, our experts are monitoring two important lawsuits where gun lobby–backed challengers are requesting review by the Supreme Court: Ass’n of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs v. Grewal and Young v. Hawaii. We are also closely monitoring NYSRPA v. Bruen, the first major Second Amendment case the Court will hear in over a decade. Each of these cases has the potential to yield a radical Second Amendment ruling that jeopardizes future gun violence prevention progress. 

The Supreme Court agrees to hear its first major Second Amendment case in over a decade.

On April 26, 2021, the Supreme Court announced it will hear NYSRPA v. Bruen, its first major Second Amendment case since Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the Court. Since the Court decided District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, the justices have largely avoided cases implicating the Second Amendment. This new case, known as Bruen (previously Corlett) or NYSRPA II, involves a challenge to a New York state law that requires New York residents to demonstrate “proper cause” for a concealed carry license. This case is the first Second Amendment case the Court has taken since the appointment of Justice Barrett, who is likely to shift the balance against gun safety laws. Oral arguments will take place on November 3, 2021. For more information on Bruen, read our press release with a statement on the case from our litigation director, Hannah Shearer, or see coverage in the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, Mother Jones, and The Hill.

The California Attorney General’s Office appealed the district court’s ruling Miller v. Bonta, seeking to protect California’s assault weapons ban.

On June 4th, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, a federal judge found California’s decades-old assault weapons ban unconstitutional in Miller v. Bonta. Our State Policy Director, Ari Freilich told the New York Times the ruling is “alarming and wrong” and is “an insult to families across the nation, on today of all days, who have seen in the most painful way possible how dangerous and deadly assault weapons are.” For more information on the ruling, read our press release with a statement from our Executive Director, Robyn Thomas, or see coverage in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. And for additional legal analysis about this  dangerous decision read our piece in the Daily Journal by our Litigation Director, Hannah Shearer and Constitutional Litigation Fellow, Lisa Tu. The California AG’s appeal will give the Ninth Circuit an opportunity to correct the district court, and find the ban constitutional. On June 21st, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges issued a stay, which prevents the district court’s ruling from going into effect, and places the appeal on hold, pending the resolution of other related cases before the court.

An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit heard a challenge to California’s large capacity magazine ban on June 22nd.

On June 22, 2021, the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, heard arguments in Duncan v. Becerra, a challenge to California’s large capacity magazine ban. On August 14, 2020, a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel found California’s large capacity magazine ban unconstitutional, an outlier ruling contradicted by every other federal appeals court to consider the constitutionality of magazine restrictions. En banc review gives the Ninth Circuit another opportunity to find California’s large capacity magazine ban constitutional, as nearly every other court has done. Giffords Law Center filed an amicus brief when the case was before the three-judge panel and another amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit to hear the case en banc.

An en banc panel of the Sixth Circuit announced it will hear a challenge to the ATF’s rule banning bump stocks.

On June 25, 2021, the Sixth Circuit announced it will sit en banc to hear arguments in Gun Owners of Amer. v. Garland. En banc review gives the Sixth Circuit another opportunity to find that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives properly classified bump stocks as machine guns. A three-judge panel of Sixth Circuit judges previously found that the challengers were likely to succeed in their challenge to ATF’s rule banning bump stocks, and ATF is now challenging that decision.

A three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit voted to overturn a law restricting handgun sales from licensed dealers to individuals 21 years of age and older.

On July 13, 2021, a divided panel of the Fourth Circuit held that laws preventing firearms dealers from selling handguns to young adults under age 21 are unconstitutional in Hirschfield v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. In our press release, our Chief Counsel and Policy Director Adam Skaggs called on the full Fourth Circuit to “reverse this reckless decision” and recognized that minimum age laws have been “repeatedly upheld” and have “been on the books for more than a half century.” In February 2020, Giffords Law Center filed an amicus brief in the case with evidence showing that minors under 21 are disproportionately involved in violent crime and are at a higher risk of attempting suicide.

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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

Libertarian Party v. Cuomo (Cert Stage)

Challenge to New York pistol licensing and concealed carry licensing laws. (S. Ct. No. 20-1151; 2d Cir. No. 18-386)

Maryland Shall Issue v. Hogan 

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

People v. Brown 

Challenge to Illinois FOID firearm licensing law, brought by criminal defendant. (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)

Riggs v. City of Chicago 

Challenge to Illinois FOID firearm licensing law under the Second Amendment and Due Process Clause. (N.D. Ill. No. 21-cv-01686)

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. (Philadelphia County filed May 11, 2021; E.D. Pa. No. 21-cv-2630)

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

NYSRPA v. Bruen (Cert Granted)

Challenges to New York concealed carry licensing law (relitigating Kachalsky). (S. Ct. No. 20-843; 2d Cir. No. 19-156)

Young v. Hawaii (Cert Stage)

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

Call, et al. v. Jones III, et al. (Held in Abeyance Pending NYSRPA v. Bruen)

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)

Bennett v. Davis (Held in Abeyance Pending NYSRPA v. Bruen)

Second Amendment challenge to New Jersey good-cause concealed carry permit law. (D. N.J. No. 20-cv-15406)

Greco v. City of New York 

Second Amendment challenge to NYC implementation of New York good-cause concealed carry permit law. (S.D.N.Y. No. 20-cv-09265)

Mo. ex rel Schmitt v. Choi & Curators of Univ. of Mo. 

Missouri statutory and constitutional challenges to Univ. of Missouri campus gun ban. (Mo. SC98992; Mo. Ct. App. Western Dist. No. WD83427)

Wade v. University of Michigan 

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

Flanagan v. Becerra and Nichols v. Newsom (Stayed Pending Young v. Hawaii—En Banc Case)

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

Livingston v. Ballard (Stayed Pending Young v. Hawaii—En Banc Case)

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

Yukutake v. Connors (Stayed Pending Young v. Hawaii—En Banc Case)

Second Amendment challenge to Hawaii registration and permitting laws. (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. 19-cv-578)

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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 (Cert Stage)

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

Maryland Shall Issue v. Hogan (Cert Stage)

Takings Clause, due process and statutory challenge to Maryland trigger activator ban. (S Ct. No. 20-855; 4th Cir. No. 18-2474)

Duncan v. Becerra (En Banc Case)

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

Rupp v. Becerra (Held in Abeyance Pending Duncan v. Becerra—En Banc Case)

Second Amendment, other challenges to California assault weapon restrictions and registration. (9th Cir. No. 19-56004)

Gun Owners of Amer. v. Garland 

APA challenge to ATF rule banning bump stocks. (6th. Cir. No. 19-1298) 

Modern Sportsman, et al. v. United States; companion case 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)

Ross, et al. v. Mellekas 

Second Amendment challenge to Connecticut LCM load restrictions (limited to loading 10 rounds in 15-round magazines). (D. Conn. No. 20-CV-319)

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

Kenneth E. Flick v. Merrick B. Garland (Cert Stage)

Challenge to 922(g)(1) brought by a petitioner convicted of a criminal copyright violation and for smuggling counterfeit cassette tapes in 1987. (S. Ct. No. 20-902; 11th Cir. No. 19-11433)

Folajtar v. Barr (Cert Stage)

As-applied Second Amendment challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) brought by plaintiff with nonviolent felony conviction. (S Ct. No. 20-812; 3d Cir. No. 19-1687)

Torres v. United States (Cert Stage) 

As-applied challenge to 922(g)(1) brought by a pro se petitioner convicted of violating the felon-in-possession law. (S. Ct. No. 20-5579; 9th Cir. No. 15-10492)

Hirschfeld v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearm

Challenge to federal minimum age restriction. (4th Cir. No. 19-2250)

Jones v. Becerra

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

Mitchell v. Atkins (Held in Abeyance Pending Jones v. Becerra)

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)

MINIMUM AGE CHALLENGES PENDING IN DISTRICT COURTS

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.

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)

Fetsurka v. Outlaw

Challenge to COVID-related delays in the issuance of concealed carry permits in Philadelphia. (E.D. Pa., No. 20-CV-5857)

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

Defense Distributed v. Grewal (Cert Stage)

Dormant commerce clause and numerous other challenges to New Jersey AG’s efforts to prevent dissemination of code for 3D printed firearms. (S Ct. No. 20-984; D. N.J. No. 19-cv-04753)

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. Rodriguez (previously Rhode v. Becerra)

Commerce clause and Second Amendment challenge to CA ammunition background checks law. (9th Cir. No. 20-55437)

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SPOTLIGHT

ANNUAL
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)

In re Academy 

Lawsuit against gun dealer who sold a rifle and ammunition to the perpetrator of the 2017 shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Tex. Supreme Court 19-0497)

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)

Gustafson v. Springfield 

Reversed dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims and found the PLCAA unconstitutional. (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. (A-20-08-0905-CV)

MODEL LAWS

Our attorneys have crafted model laws to serve as the foundation for state or local lawmakers to draft legislation to fit the needs of their communities. Get in touch to see how we can help.

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Affirmative Challenges

State v. City of Weston 

Challenge to Florida’s preemption statute which limits local regulation in the field of firearms. (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)

State of Washington, et al. v. U.S. Dep’t of State 

States’ APA challenge to federal export rule change affecting technology for 3D-printed guns. (9th Cir. No. 20-35391)

State of Washington, et al. v. Defense Distributed, et al

States’ APA challenge to federal settlement with Defense Distributed. (9th Cir. No. 20-35030)

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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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