Federal Appeals court upholds Maryland assault rifle ban


#1

A federal appeals court upheld Maryland’s ban on assault rifles, concluding that the powerful military-style guns outlawed by the measure are not entitled to protection under the Second Amendment.

The 10-4 ruling, issued by the entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, reverses a decision by a smaller panel of judges from the court last year that called the law’s constitutionality into question.

The bill was steered through the Maryland Senate in 2013 by then-Sen. Brian E. Frosh in the wake of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Since elected as the state’s attorney general, he has defended the law in court.

Frosh, a Democrat, called the dual role gratifying and said he was very happy with the ruling.

“It’s a very strong opinion and we think absolutely correct,” said Frosh, who called the violence wrought by the now-banned guns “senseless.”

The law, which also outlawed magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, was challenged by two men who said they wanted to buy the banned rifles and by a handful of gun stores and associations. They argued that the rifles were popular among gun enthusiasts, used by people to defend their homes and not inherently dangerous. A federal judge in Baltimore disagreed, upholding the law.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The plaintiffs could appeal the case to the Supreme Court. Frosh said that he’s confident the law will stand should the high court weigh in.

The case is among several that have tested how courts would consider new firearm restrictions in the wake of a 2008 Supreme Court decision — District of Columbia v. Heller — that affirmed an individual’s constitutional right to own at least some types of guns.

In the Fourth Circuit’s decision, which began by recounting recent mass shootings, Judge Robert B. King concluded that the rifles banned by the Maryland law fell outside of the protections laid down by the Supreme Court.

“Both before and after Newtown, similar military-style rifles and detachable magazines have been used to perpetrate mass shootings in places whose names have become synonymous with the slaughters that occurred there,” he wrote.

“We are convinced that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are among those arms that are ‘like’ ‘M-16 rifles’ — ‘weapons that are most useful in military service’ — which the Heller Court singled out as being beyond the Second Amendment’s reach,” King wrote.

Four other courts have upheld similar restrictions in other states, he wrote, and he said the earlier decision by the panel of judges would have made the court an outlier.

In a scathing dissent, Judge William B. Traxler said it was his colleagues who had now gone too far by denying that the guns are covered under the Second Amendment at all.

“The majority has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms,” he wrote.

Even if the weapons were constitutionally protected, Traxler acknowledged it is possible that the Maryland law still might pass muster but said it should be subjected to a stricter review by the court.

“For a law-abiding citizen who, for whatever reason, chooses to protect his home with a semi-automatic rifle instead of a semi-automatic handgun, Maryland’s law clearly imposes a significant burden on the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home,” he wrote.

iduncan@baltsun.com

A Victory for Sandy Hook.


#2

Weapons of war don’t belong in the hands of people. This is a wise ruling by the courts. All automatic weapons of war should be banned. They have no place in our society.


#3

You do know that automatic weapons are “banned” for people without proper licensing, right?
You do know that this “ban” is for semiautomatics, right?
You do know other weapon types kill exponentially more people than “assault rifles,” right?
You do know the difference between full and semi automatic, right?


#4

the problem is and has always been giving the wrong people licensing.

you do know that…right?

but fear not…we fixed it here.

no we just have to fix it everywhere.


#5

Back that statement up with fact. Tell me, just how many fully automatic licenses were improperly issued in the United States. Pro-tip: You can’t because if a fully automatic weapon is legally purchased then the process has been followed by the FFL dealer.

I am aware of some fully automatics being sold to drug cartels, but that was done by Holder and Obama during Fast and Furious.

I am willing to bet I am far more active in the firearms community than you are. I mill my own lower receivers in my basement and build my own weapons.


#6

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops.”

Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787


“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.”

James Madison, Federalist No. 46, January 29, 1788


"…the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone…"
James Madison, Federalist No. 46, January 29, 1788


“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”

William Pitt (the Younger), Speech in the House of Commons, November 18, 1783


#7

good for you.

now all you need to do is read this ruling.

I was concealed carry for 10 years.

I was told by the Lt. processing my application when I applied for 'sporting and target shooting" “No one gets that! You want LARGE CAPACITY Concealed Carry!”

alright then…sign me up.

now fortunately I am of sane mind but that is a problem friend whether YOU think it or not.

Further the BG check has a BAD loophole that needs to be closed.

you may be active in your gun toting community but you have big gaps in your understanding of the law that we need to fix.


#8

Further…

In 2008 the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment did secure the right of law-abiding, responsible adults to have handguns in their homes for protection. Yet the court went out of its way to acknowledge that most forms of gun regulation remain constitutionally permissible. “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” Justice Antonin Scalia, explained. In a sentence the NRA and many gun-rights extremists apparently missed, Scalia wrote that the Second Amendment is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Let’s say that again: Justice Scalia, hero of the most intransigent conservatives in the country, stated unequivocally that restrictions of Second Amendment rights are constitutional.

psst…he knew more about the law…

: )


#9

Please cite specific “bad” loophole.


#10

I am familiar with Scalia’s position related to the Heller decision. I read your heavily biased article, but I don’t need a liberal to explain the Heller decision to me.

Here’s what matters in Heller: “Dangerous AND Unusual” - read that a few times. Let it sink in. Just to be clear, I specifically put “AND” in all caps.

This decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will be overturned.

The AR-15 is not dangerous and unusual. It is the most common rifle in the United States.

Feel free to come back to this thread later when exactly what I said happens. The “Dangerous and Unusual” categorization will be the rationale for overturning the ruling.

You should really stop being such a vocal supporter of judicial activism.

That’s a stink that just doesn’t come off.


#11

they must be completed in 72 hours or the application is approved.

the SC shooter should have been stopped from getting that gun and could have been if we had this sensible hole fixed.


#12

America Won. …


#13

How many automatic weapons are out there?


#14

How can you say that with any confidence?


#15

how can I say it? read the law.

do you even know the law? read the law.


#16

A 72 hour waiting period will only temper a crazy persons craziness for 72 hours. Unless you can figure out a way to legislate the hate and evil out of someones heart, all the waiting periods do is put innocent people at risk.


#17

no

don’t agree at all.

in some courts in Mayberry they are not all computerized so Martha may only go to the basement files on Tuesdays so if your request for a BG check comes in on Tuesday guess what Martha has already made her BG check run so that waits until next week.

other times ther are case pending sometimes FELONIES so no answer is given because the case hasn’t been resolved.

it can take months but if the person has a pending FELONY don’t you think they should be made to WAIT?

I oversee BG checks. this happens all the time.

and it is wrong to approve a GUN to someone who cant PASS a BG check.

we fire people for failing a PEE Test but give them a GUN if their CRIMINAL BG Check is not approved in 72 hours.

sorry friend that is mesed up no two ways about that.

who in their right mind would think that makes any sense at all???

no one.


#18

The NICS background check? Is that what we’re talking about? The ATF 4473 form is pretty clear and the FBI conducts the checks.


#19

I know, and many don’t come back in time.

The FBI says its background-check system failed, mistakenly allowing the man who allegedly opened fire inside a South Carolina church last month to purchase the gun he used in the rampage.
“We are all sick that this has happened,” FBI Director James Comey told a small group of reporters in Washington today. “We wish we could turn back time.”

you have to understand something about me…we may disagree and that is why I came here to be challenged…but I don’t say things unless I know they are true.

My goal is to make others better in finding the FACTS regardless whether we agree…if we all know the facts and shout down this alternative BS to the trash heap it belongs to…this world will be just fine for everyone.

we create our own problems.


#20

Point taken. But I can’t in good conscience agree.