California AG Bonta joins 16-state coalition supporting New York gun restrictions

“In no way does the Second Amendment create a free-for-all rule that guns will be allowed anywhere, at any time, and for any purpose,” AG Bonta said in a released statement.

California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta, joined 15 other states on Tuesday, in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in support of overturning the district court’s ruling that the New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act’s (CCIA) private-property provision “affirmatively exercises the right to exclude concealed carriers on behalf of all private property owners.”

The appeal deals with that provision of CCIA in Christian v. Nigrelli, which adopted a default rule that firearms are not allowed on private property open to the public without express permission. The law criminalizes ‘possession of a weapon on another person’s private property when the person carrying the firearm “knows or reasonably should know that the owner or lessee of such property” has not “given express consent” to carry firearms on the premises.’

The provision applies to a variety of locations: offices, stores, malls, parking lots, hotels, business conference centers, and much more, making it an offense to carry a weapon into these areas without prior approval by the property owners.

The coalition of states, which includes the District of Columbia, Illinois, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, argue that this does not infringe on the Second Amendment rights of gun owners but rather protects residents from the harmful effects of gun violence and promotes the safe and responsible use of firearms.

“In no way does the Second Amendment create a free-for-all rule that guns will be allowed anywhere, at any time, and for any purpose,” AG Bonta said in a released statement. “The coalition of 16 attorneys general argue in the brief that New York’s restriction is one in a long line of government regulations designed to make gun possession and use safer for the public, and is a lawful exercise of states’ regulatory and police powers to enact such a law.”

California has some of the toughest gun laws but has already seen 30 fatalities and several serious injuries in six gun-related incidents since the start of the year. The nation as a whole, has had 43 mass shootings so far in 2023 according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The appeal said that the default rule is in line with the preference of most New Yorkers and falls well within the rights of the state legislature to craft laws to protect public safety and property owners.

Opponents of the default rule see it as an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

Gun related incidents have been quantified to cost the U.S $557 billion annually in an average of over 120 deaths per day. A report by the Center for Disease Control found that “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

The controversial rule should be upheld, the coalition argues, because it:

Does not interfere with the exercise of Second Amendment rights; the Second Amendment does not include the right to carry firearms on another person’s private property without their consent; Sets a default rule that protects public safety and at the same time preserves the rights of both property owners and gun owners; Helps the public identify those privately-owned businesses that permit the carrying of firearms on the premises; Is consistent with default rules that currently exist in other states.

“New York’s law empowers property owners to determine whether and under what conditions others can bring guns onto their property and ensures that gun owners abide by the wishes of property owners; it does not interfere with the exercise of Second Amendment rights. We urge the court to overturn this decision. At a time when more Americans are dying from gun violence than ever before, States must be permitted to take commonsense actions to protect the public” Bonta said.