The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of appeals has ruled that Maryland’s assault weapons ban is constitutional. The 10-4 ruling is a win for gun control advocates who had sought to keep the restrictions in force.
“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war,” Judge Robert King wrote for the court according to NBC News.
Judge William Traxler blasted the ruling in a dissent. “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, and it should at least be subject to strict scrutiny review before it is allowed to stand,” Traxler wrote.
For its part, the National Rifle Association was flabbergasted that the court upheld bans and restrictions on the AR-15, the most popular rifle in the nation with between five and ten million in circulation according to the NRA.
Maryland bans 45 types of weapons and restricts magazines to just a 10-round capacity. The law was enacted after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012.
The original purpose of the Second Amendment was to allow private citizens to own weapons for militia use. By definition, those weapons are weapons of war. Those are the weapons that our Founding Fathers wanted to protect Americans’ right to own.
In fact, it used to be mandatory for Americans to own firearms for use in war. The Militia Act of 1792 required all American men between 18-45 to own a musket and the various accessories to make it function. The musket was the AR-15 of its day.
Also, how do you exactly define what a “weapon of war” is? There are many semi-automatic weapons on the market that don’t look as scary as an AR-15 but also fire every time you squeeze the trigger. There are also millions of handguns and bolt-action rifles in circulation that have been used by military forces all over the world. Why are they not considered “weapons of war?”
The court’s logic is the same as putting a spoiler on a Kia Optima and calling it a sports car. It just doesn’t make sense.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ignored the very intent of the Constitution in this case. Their decision should be overturned on that basis.