Case Information: Rupp v. Becerra, No. 19-56004 (9th Cir. brief filed June 2, 2020).
At Issue: On July 1, 1993, a man armed with three handguns—two of which were semiautomatic assault pistols fitted with “hellfire triggers”—killed eight people and injured six others at the law offices of Pettit & Martin at 101 California St. in San Francisco. Survivors of this devastating mass shooting later founded the Legal Community Against Violence, the organization that is now Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The group’s advocacy fueled the fight to pass the former federal assault weapons ban and led states, including California, to strengthen restrictions on military-grade weapons. In 2017 the NRA brought a lawsuit against the California Assault Weapons Control Act (AWCA), seeking to undo survivors’ progress and market assault weapons in the state. The case is now on appeal, and on June 2, 2020, we joined with survivors of the 101 California shooting to file an amicus brief in the case.
Giffords Law Center’s Brief: Our brief tells the stories of survivors who lost spouses, friends, and colleagues at 101 California, illustrating the enormous harm these weapons wreak upon individuals, families, and communities. The brief tells their stories in order to make the case that the government’s interest in public safety extends beyond merely reducing death and injury, and that when weighing the government’s public safety interest, courts must consider the loss and trauma of survivors and communities. Our brief also argues that laws like the AWCA are manifestations of the efforts of communities harmed by gun violence to protect themselves, and that the courts should recognize survivors’ rights to participate in our democracy by advocating for gun safety laws after a tragedy like 101 California.