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June 23, 2022

Statement of ABA President Reginald Turner Re: Gun violence and the Bruen decision

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2022 — The American Bar Association is deeply disturbed by the toll gun violence has exacted upon our country as more than 40,000 Americans die every year from guns through homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. The ABA has studied firearm regulation for more than a century and believes gun violence can be reduced by evidence-based policies that are fully consistent with the Constitution.

The Supreme Court today ruled in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen that “the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” In an amicus brief cited multiple times by the dissenting justices, the ABA argued that pursuant to association policy, the right of state and local governments to tailor firearms regulations should be based on local considerations and is a critical component of a state’s police powers.

The ABA has created a Law, Society and the Judiciary Task Force to consider the range of issues implicated in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen decision, among other recent Supreme Court decisions. The task force will examine relevant matters and recommend how the ABA should effectively address legal issues that affect society broadly, the rule of law and the judiciary.

The ABA urges Congress to enact sensible and evidence-based legislation to help reduce the scourge that gun violence has wrought on our nation. The association applauds current bipartisan efforts in Congress that reached a tentative agreement on some important measures, including enhancements to background checks, criminal penalties for certain gun purchases and incentives to states that enact red flag laws. While the agreement is not perfect, the ABA urges Congress to build on this progress and swiftly enact legislation that will help make all people in our country safer.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.