AG Platkin, AG Jennings, AG Henry Defend Commonsense Gun Safety Laws in Federal Court

New Jersey Joins Delaware, Pennsylvania in Supporting Restrictions on Assault Weapons, LCMs

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2024

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General

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Allison Inserro,


TRENTON — New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry reiterated their support for common sense gun safety laws today as attorneys for the states delivered oral arguments defending landmark firearms legislation.

In Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association v. Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security, currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Attorney General Jennings defended restrictions on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines (LCMs) against a challenge by plaintiffs affiliated with the National Rifle Association.

“The idea that the Founders envisioned anything like an AR-15 when they drafted the Constitution is a delusion,” said Attorney General Jennings. “These guns originated as weapons of war, were marketed based on their military pedigree, and have emerged as the clear weapon of choice for mass shooters at a time when guns are the leading cause of death for children in our country. The gun lobby’s continuing pursuit of blood money is appalling and flat-out wrong on the merits. We are proud to defend these laws.”

Attorney General Platkin,  who led an amicus curiae brief in 2023 supporting the Delaware statutes with Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell, also spoke in strong support of gun safety.

“I stand united with the Attorneys General of every state in the Third Circuit, and with 18 States across the country, because this madness has to stop,” said Attorney General Platkin. “There is no sane reason why ordinary citizens must arm themselves with the weapons of war – assault weapons and large capacity magazines – at issue in this case today. We urge the Third Circuit to affirm the District Court’s conclusion that these commonsense restrictions are constitutional and are consistent with the Second Amendment. If Delaware’s laws can be struck down, then the public safety of all other states, including New Jersey, will be at risk.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Henry agreed.

“Every tragic incident of gun violence across the country and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania means another family is left heartbroken and picking up the pieces from senseless violence,” said Attorney General Henry. “I stand proudly next to partners in Delaware and New Jersey as leaders in stating our case that the line has to be drawn between maintaining freedoms essential to Pennsylvanians and our obligations as chief law enforcer to protect children, families, and communities from further harm.”

The Delaware General Assembly passed the assault weapon and LCM restrictions as a package of gun safety legislation signed in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers and left 17 others injured. The gun lobby’s challenge to the legislation was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, where it was rejected by Judge Richard Andrews. The gun lobby subsequently appealed the case to the Third Circuit.

Delaware and New Jersey argue in their submissions to the court that the District Court was correct in its assessment that assault weapons and high-capacity magazines represent unprecedented societal concerns and dramatic technological changes from the single-shot, muzzle-loading, flintlock firearms of the 18th and 19th centuries; that Delaware’s statutes are well within the country’s tradition of reasonable firearm regulations; and that LCMs do not meet the definition of “arms” in the Second Amendment.

In addition to New Jersey and Massachusetts, the states’ amicus brief for DSSA v. DDSHS was joined by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.


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