February 5, 2016
The Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals determines Maryland’s ban on semi-automatic “assault weapons” and firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds violates an individual’s Second Amendment rights.
The 2-to-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit sends the gun-control law back to a lower court for review, but allows the existing ban to remain in place.
Chief Judge William B. Traxler Jr., writing for the majority
“We therefore struggle to see how Maryland’s law would not substantially burden the core Second Amendment right to defend oneself and one’s family in the home with a firearm that is commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for such lawful purposes. Moreover, the FSA also reaches every instance where an AR-15 platform semi-automatic rifle or LCM might be preferable to handguns or bolt-action rifles–for example hunting, recreational shooting, or competitive marksmanship events, all of which are lawful purposes protected by the Constitution.”
The law bans more than 45 types of assault weapons in addition to high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Chris Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement Thursday that the “highest level of judicial scrutiny should apply when governments try to restrict our Second Amendment freedoms.”
The Maryland law was challenged by a group of gun-store owners and individuals who said the prohibited firearms are not military weapons and are used for lawful purposes such as self-defense, target practice and hunting.
The Court continued in their argument that a regular, law-abiding person would have many legitimate reasons for wanting to purchase and possess guns banned under the Act:
“There are legitimate reasons for citizens to favor a semiautomatic rifle over handguns in defending themselves and their families at home. The record contains evidence suggesting that ‘handguns are inherently less accurate than long guns’ as they ‘are more difficult to steady’ and ‘absorb less of the recoil….reducing accuracy.”
You can read the entire decision here.