Delaware, New Jersey, Illinois Lead Multistate Coalition of Attorneys General Supporting PA Gun Safety Law    


Attorneys General of a number of states are speaking out about the striking down of a gun law in Pennsylvania. Attorney General Kathy Jennings today co-led a coalition of 19 attorneys general filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. The coalition urged the court to revisit an opinion striking down a Pennsylvania law prohibiting individuals under the age of 21 from carrying concealed weapons in public and imposing additional restrictions during declared states of emergency. Delaware, New Jersey, and Illinois were the lead states on the brief.  AG Jennings says some things are just a matter of common sense. Deep red and deep blue states alike have laws that govern concealed carry or other access to firearms for people under 21. She adds that the panel ruling in this case is inconsistent with more than a century of legal precedent and, if allowed to stand, will set back the states’ ability to curtail gun violence at a time when guns are the leading cause of death for children.

Additional Information from the Delaware Attorney General’s Office:

In the brief, AG Jennings asks the full court to review a recent opinion in Lara v. Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, a lawsuit challenging a Pennsylvania law that restricts the issuance of concealed carry weapons permits to people ages 21 and up.    

The court’s opinion, if not corrected, will raise questions about the constitutionality of similar statutes in more than 30 other states with age restrictions on firearms access. The coalition explained in the brief that those statutes are constitutional because they are consistent with our country’s historical tradition because similar laws have existed for over 150 years. Jennings and the attorneys general argued that the opinion should be revisited because the court’s reasoning, if adopted elsewhere, could threaten the states’ ability to defend and enforce all manner of firearms regulations. 

The brief is the most recent step in Attorney General Jennings’ work to address gun violence throughout Delaware and across the nation. Gun violence in Delaware has fallen by 20% since the pandemic, and violent crime has reached an all-time low, due in part to a variety of enforcement initiatives — including gang prosecutions, law enforcement intelligence sharing programs, gun trafficking indictments, new bail laws aimed at violent offenders, and a high conviction rate against gun offenders.  

Jennings is an outspoken advocate for permit-to-purchase legislation, which is currently awaiting consideration in Delaware’s General Assembly. She has also supported gun safety laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, ban unserialized “ghost guns,” limit handgun access to adults over 21, and enable the State to hold gun dealers accountable for negligent business practices that enable gun violence. 

Joining Jennings in filing the amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.