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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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South Dakota Joins Amicus Brief Challenging a Categorical Ban on Semiautomatic Weapons


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :     Wednesday, May 07, 2014
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215   

South Dakota Joins Amicus Brief Challenging a Categorical Ban on Semiautomatic Weapons

PIERRE, S.D –  Attorney General Marty J. Jackley announces that South Dakota has joined 21 other states in an amicus or “friend of the court” brief challenging the constitutionality of a categorical gun ban in New York for semiautomatic firearms, including those commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.  There is no cost for South Dakota to file as amicus curiae counsel.  A federal New York District Court has upheld the gun ban and the challenge has been filed in the Second Federal Circuit Appellate Court in the case of Nojay v. Cuomo.

 “Hunting with semiautomatic firearms for pheasant, waterfowl and big game is commonplace in South Dakota.  While the ban only applies to New York at this time, the federal court’s upholding of the gun ban sets a concerning precedent interpreting limitations on Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens including here in South Dakota.  An outright ban on semiautomatic weapons used for self-defense and hunting purposes violates the Second Amendment,” said Jackley.

The brief contends that New York’s ban of semiautomatic firearms, including in the home, constitutes a categorical ban on possessing certain firearms that are commonly owned for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Semiautomatic firearms are among the “arms” protected by the Second Amendment. Because New York’s ban on semiautomatic weapons burdens the core of Second Amendment rights, the amicus argues that the Act is unconstitutional, particularly when subjected to the highest level of scrutiny.

The brief argues that New York’s ban of these firearms cannot pass constitutional muster. Strict scrutiny must be applied because such bans have little effect on gun violence and public safety, and the ban imposed by New York is not the least restrictive means to serve the state’s interests in public safety and crime prevention.