NJ AG Platkin Co-Leads Amicus Brief Supporting Pennsylvania Law Barring Concealed Carry Weapons by Individuals Under 21

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin co-led a coalition of 19 attorneys general filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit urging that 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.

In the brief, Attorney General Platkin and the coalition ask the court to review a recent panel opinion in favor of the plaintiffs in Lara v. Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police.

The plaintiffs in the case — three individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 years when they first sued the Pennsylvania state police, and two gun advocacy groups — are challenging a Pennsylvania law that generally restricts the issuance of concealed carry weapons permits to people ages 21 and up. 

“Gun violence is a public health crisis that threatens the health and safety of all New Jerseysans, including our kids,” said Attorney General Platkin. “The Third Circuit’s recent decision wrongly strips States of a necessary tool to protect their residents from violence. The Constitution does not prevent Legislatures from adopting commonsense safety measures like minimum age restrictions, and I hope the Third Circuit will reconsider its misguided approach.”

The brief explains that the panel opinion, if not corrected, will raise questions about the constitutionality of similar statutes in New Jersey and more than 30 other states with age restrictions on firearms access. Those statutes are constitutional because they are consistent with the historical tradition in this country. States have enacted similar laws for over 150 years.

The attorneys general argue that the opinion should be reheard because its reasoning, if adopted elsewhere, could threaten the states’ ability to defend and enforce all manner of firearms regulations.

The brief furthers Attorney General Platkin’s work to address gun violence throughout State and across the nation. New Jersey continues to pursue every avenue to stem the tide of firearms-related injuries and death. The Attorney General’s Office has taken vigorous action against gun industry members while defending challenges to New Jersey’s gun safety laws.

The attorneys general of Illinois and Delaware co-led today’s brief with Attorney General Platkin; they were joined by California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

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  1. The whole topic is a foolish pursuit. If making it illegal for older teens (18-21) to conceal-carry would result in young hoodlums, bums, shkotzim, cholerias, etc. not carrying, there may be some value in the whole discussion. But we all know this is not the case. The hoodlums will still carry and use, regardless of all these waste-of-time laws, so save your breath on these foolish discussions and concentrate on enforcing (vigorously when necessary) existing law

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