4th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Strikes down semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines banned by Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act, seems destined to reach the Supreme Court

8 Feb , 2016  

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at  Monday, February 8, 11.57 AM

A new ruling in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals conflicts the rulings in other Circuit Courts and seems likely to force the Supreme Court to address this issue.

. . . In a 2-1 decision applauded by gun rights advocates, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit concluded that the semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines banned by Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act “are in common use by law-abiding citizens.” As a result, they don’t fall under the exception to the right to bear arms that applies to “unusual” weapons such as machine guns and hand grenades, the court said.

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said Thursday that the decision “conflicts sharply with rulings of other federal appellate courts.” Frosh said he would appeal — either to the full 15-member 4th Circuit or to the U.S. Supreme Court. . . .

Given the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller, the use of a standard above strict scrutiny in striking down the DC handgun ban it seems appropriate for this decision was also based on strict scrutiny.


2 Responses

  1. PaulBrevik says:

    Well, the AR-15 is the most common rifle in the country, so it seems difficult to defend the claim that it is not in common use by the citizenry. And since such rifles are used in so few crimes, it is simply false that they present a legitimate threat to public safety.

  2. Derek says:

    Unfortunatley, an en banc decision in Kolbe v. Hogen overruled the 3 judge panel decision overturning Maryland’s assault weapon ban. The en banc decision upheld the assault weapons ban. En banc means that all 4th Circuit judges voted in the decision instead of the normal 3 judge panel. The dissent wrote a scathing criticism of the majority opinon pointing out that the majority failed to follow SCOTUS precedent in DC v. Heller, which held 2A protects and individual right to keep & bear arms of the type in common use. Evidence was overwhelming that AR15s and similar semiautos are in common use in America. The 4th Cir. en banc decision used the wrong test. I really hope SCOTUS will grant cert & hear at least one case challenging an assault weapons and large capacity magazine bans.

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