Attorney General Eric Schmitt joined 21 attorneys general in support of a recent decision striking down California’s assault weapon ban.
The coalition, led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, filed a brief Wednesday urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court’s decision overturning the ban on what it defined as assault weapons, which had been in place for more than three decades. The ban was overturned by a lower court earlier this month and appealed by the state last week.
The coalition argued the ban was unconstitutional per the Second Amendment and urged the appellate court to “apply strict scrutiny” to the case.
“Calling modern rifles ‘assault weapons’ is a misnomer— they are most often used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes like personal protection or target and sport shooting,” the brief said. “There is nothing sinister about citizens keeping or bearing a modern rifle. Law-abiding citizens keeping and bearing modern rifles benefit public safety, counter-balance the threat of illegal gun violence, and help make our homes and streets safer.”
“California should not be permitted to invade its own citizens’ constitutional rights, and this court should not imperil the rights of citizens in this circuit and other states with its analysis,” it continued.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state would continue to fight the decision, arguing the firearms were dangerous and recalling the incident that led to the 1989 law.
“This ban was enacted after a shooting that took the lives of five schoolchildren and injured countless more, and my administration will do whatever it takes to continue protecting Californians and leading the nation in gun safety laws,” Newsom said in a statement. “This is a fight California will never back down from, period.”
Schmitt has weighed in on the federal government numerous times over the past year, from similar letters to pending lawsuits against the new presidential administration. He recently joined other attorneys general on a letter opposing the appointment of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and wrote to oppose an attempt to revise a Trump-era water regulation this week.
The Second Amendment was also a focal point of the Missouri Legislature this year; Gov. Mike Parson signed the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) last week, a bill proponents say protects the Second Amendment rights of Missourians.