A shooting at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods in May, 2022, killed one person and injured five others.
A shooting at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods in May, 2022, killed one person and injured five others.


Attorney General (AG) Rob Bonta, along with a coalition of 16 other state attorneys general, have filed a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on January 17, supporting New York’s regulation that prohibits the carrying of firearms in sensitive places, especially places of worship. 

“The fact is, more guns in more places makes us less safe and interferes with the ability of our citizens to exercise their constitutional rights,” said Bonta in a press release.

Recently in California, seven people were shot dead  in Half Moon Bay and 11 people gunned down in Monterey Park. 

“Less than a year ago, six people were shot during a church service in Laguna Woods. In the United States, tragedies such as these are all too common and as we see this trauma compound in our communities, we must do more, not less,” Bonta asserted.

The amicus brief urges the appeals court to overturn a decision by the district court in Hardaway v. Nigrelli that blocked New York’s reasonable restriction against firearms in places of worship. Bonta and the coalition argue that because The Second Amendment allows states to implement reasonable firearm regulations to promote gun safety and protect against gun violence, New York’s restriction is reasonable to protect the public and falls within the long-standing tradition of constitutional gun regulations. 

The amicus brief was filed in the Second Circuit in support of New York’s defense against a legal challenge to its firearm-related public nuisance statute—a law that is similar to California’s AB 1594, which the AG supported to restore the right of victims to hold the firearm industry responsible for its misconduct. The coalition also argues that the Second Amendment allows states to implement reasonable firearm regulations and that the challenged provision regarding places of worship addresses the danger posed by firearms in such locations. On January 19, 2023, Bonta also joined a brief urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to reverse a district court decision blocking enforcement of several provisions of the same New York law. 

“We must provide the public with protection from gun violence, and respect the authority of states as they implement commonsense gun regulations to safeguard their communities,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta in a press release on January 25. (source: oag.ca.gov)

Bonta’s ongoing efforts to prevent gun violence include the launch of the nation’s first Office of Gun Violence Prevention, taking legal action against ghost gun retailers, and defending common sense gun laws. 

As gun violence continues to pose a growing threat to public safety, with an average of over 120 gun deaths each day and nearly 45,000 each year in the U.S., Bonta and the coalition believe it is crucial for the appeals court to reverse the district court’s order and allow states to limit the possession and use of firearms in sensitive public places, including places of worship. 

Attorney General Bonta joins the Attorney General of the District of Columbia, Illinois, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin in filing the amicus brief. A copy of the brief may be viewed here

Asante-Ra is a versatile writer committed to delivering informative and engaging content. They are a voracious media consumer, and lifelong learner passionate about science, health, gender diversity, accessibility, racial equity, and civic participation. They have a broad range of interests including society, culture, popular education, history, human sexuality, romance, comedy, poetry, and exploring topics such as indigeneity, world religions, mythology, astrology, and Blackness.