The youth-led Judicial Advocacy Team guides MFOL’s legal strategy. We fight for our constitutional right to not be shot in all spaces, from spreading accessible information on social media to promote constitutional literacy in young people, to filing revolutionary amicus briefs that center the stories of young lives impacted by gun violence. Our work breaks down barriers of entry and democratizes the legal sphere. We show the world that judicial spaces shouldn’t be for lawyers alone, but a place for young people to advocate for change.
Our Amicus Curiae Briefs
Our youth-led judicial advocacy team files briefs in different cases across the United States. Amicus briefs are filed by people who typically take the position of one side in a case, in the process supporting a cause that has some bearing on the issues in the case.
You can read briefs we’ve filed below.
NYSRPA v. Bruen
In NYSRPA v. City of New York, we filed an amicus brief that centered the stories of young people and how the Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, a purely historical approach, affects their lives in the present day. We did it again in NYSRPA vs. Bruen, drawing upon the narratives of young people impacted by gun violence from Parkland, Florida to Boulder, Colorado to remind the justices whose lives are on the line.
NYSRPA v. Bruen is the biggest case on the Second Amendment since DC v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago in 2010. It overturned New York’s century-old common-sense concealed carry law, which simply required that applicants demonstrated “proper cause—in other words, a good reason to want a hidden gun in public. What’s more, the majority opinion in the case overhauled the test that every court in the country has used to consider Second Amendment cases for the past 14 years. It dismissed our government’s pressing need to save lives, and squarely focused on the conservative supermajority’s cherry-picked version of “history.” Court decisions do not occur in a vacuum, and this one will cause more people—especially young people—to die.
No right is without limits, but this court holds the right to bear arms over the 40,000 Americans killed every year by guns. The Constitution governs the American people—it doesn’t and shouldn’t lead them to their deaths. That’s what this amicus brief showed the Court.
Mexico v. Smith & Wesson et. al
March For Our Lives filed an amicus brief in support of the Mexican government’s suit against members of the American gun industry, arguing that gun manufacturers should be held liable for facilitating violence around the world. The gun industry’s irresponsible sales and marketing practices have led to an outflow of illegal guns from the United States to Mexico, fanning the flames of violence. The brief was filed by March For Our Lives, alongside our partners at Everytown For Gun Safety, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Global Exchange, Newtown Action Alliance, and the Violence Policy Center.
It’s no secret that military-style weapons are flooding from the United States into Mexico, causing untold suffering and havoc. The Mexican government alleges that gun manufacturers’ reckless sales practices contribute to that violence, and we couldn’t agree more. The gun industry’s actions are immoral and careless. It is high time they are held responsible.
As our brief states, roughly a million firearms sold in the United States make their way across the border illegally into Mexico and comprise the majority of weapons recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. One look at the advertising techniques of major arms manufacturers in the United States makes clear why this is the case. Gun manufacturers’ dangerous promotion tactics— from describing firearms as “the Black Widow” to advertising assault weapons that can pierce armored helicopters— fuel violence in Mexico as they do here in the United States.
There is clear legal precedent for holding the industry responsible for the public nuisance caused by their products and their immoral sales practices. Just like the Mexican government has a legally sound argument against noxious fumes or smog wafting across the border, we agree that they have sound legal basis to complain about the noxious flow of military-grade firearms across the border. While the gun industry reaps enormous profits from their unscrupulous sales of assault weapons, ordinary citizens pay for those profits with their lives. We say enough.
Wade v. University of Michigan
Wade v. University of Michigan is a case that will be heard this term by the Michigan Supreme Court (the state’s highest court) concerning the constitutionality of UM’s campus firearm ban under the Second Amendment. The lower Michigan courts had previously upheld the university ordinance which mandates that campus buildings be weapons-free even for those with state-issued concealed carry permits. Much like in the NYSRPA amicus brief from 2019, MFOL is seeking to join as amicus curiae (i.e. someone who seeks to provide information/expertise to the court who is a not a party), and has prepared a brief that highlights the the stories of 7 young people who have been directly impacted by gun violence or the threat of gun violence on educational campuses to show how important UM’s ordinance is to the safety and security of young people pursuing education.
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. NYC
This brief presents the voices and stories of young people from Parkland, Florida, to South Central Los Angeles who have been affected directly and indirectly by gun violence. For these students and activists, preventing gun violence is nothing short of an existential issue impacting their public health, public safety, and our democracy. And they have only just begun making their voices heard through the democratic process. In light of their efforts, this brief urges this Court to adhere to its promise that its Second Amendment jurisprudence “by no means eliminates” the ability of Americans, and their governments, “to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values.” McDonald v. City of Chicago, Ill., 561 U.S. 742, 785 (2010). This promise leaves room for participation in the political process, and for an appropriate government response. Cutting off this important debate with a ruling that risks prohibiting sensible firearm policies would silence the voices of millions of Americans—many of whom are young people coming of age in an era of school shootings and rampant urban gun violence—and endanger the American public.