Arizona and West Virginia are leading a grand coalition of twenty-five total states pushing the Supreme Court to hear the case Bianchi v. Frosh and overturn Maryland’s highly restrictive Firearms Safety Act of 2013. The 4th Circuit upheld the restrictive law last year.
So, if it’s to be overturned by the court system, that means the only hope is the Supreme Court, which is why the states are throwing their support behind the case and attempting to push it, and a victory for gun rights, through.
The Bianche v. Frosh petition for certiorari, which the court must accept if it’s to hear the case, presents the question of “Whether the Constitution allows the government to prohibit law-abiding, responsible citizens from protecting themselves, their families, and their homes with a type of “Arms” that are in common use for lawful purposes?”
The plaintiff side is arguing that the Firearms Safety Act, which not only bans firearms with popular features like folding stocks and flash hiders, also requires Marylanders to go through a rigorous safety training course and get their fingerprints done if they’re to purchase a handgun.
Yet more restrictively, the law attempts to ban ownership of so-called assault rifles by prohibiting the sale, transfer, or receipt of those semi-auto weapons like the AR-15 and similar rifles. It also restricts magazine capacity to 10 rounds of ammunition.
The plaintiff side, in its cert petition, argues that:
“In District of Columbia v. Heller, this Court held that the Second Amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,” and that because handguns are “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” “a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.”
[…]The Fourth Circuit’s en banc decision in Kolbe v. Hogan, 849 F.3d 114 (4th Cir. 2017) (en banc)—applied by the court below in upholding Maryland’s ban on common semi-automatic rifles—represents perhaps the most extreme test contrived thus far. The foundation-stone of Heller’s constitutional analysis was the question whether the arms restricted by the government are “in common use at the time for lawful purposes like self-defense,” 554 U.S. at 624 (quotation
marks omitted), but Kolbe rejected this “common use” test as utterly irrelevant to the constitutionality of flat bans on the common semi-automatic firearms at issue.
In short, they’re arguing that the Supreme Court’s Heller opinion means Maryland should have no ability to prevent the ownership of common use weapons like the AR-15, as those weapons are often possessed by average, law-abiding citizens for benign purposes.
The states pushing for the law to be overturned do so in an amicus brief, arguing that:
Amici States protect public safety and advance citizen interests by allowing individuals to lawfully possess and use arms the challenged Maryland law would ban. In fact, Amici States are among the fortythree states that permit the commonly used civilian firearms that Maryland has banned outright (the “Affected Firearms”). These States have advanced their compelling interests in promoting public safety, preventing crime, and reducing criminal firearm violence without a rifle ban such as the one here.
In addition to framing the right to bear arms as one of public safety, and thus why they have an interest in the case, the coalition of states goes on to argue that, under the Heller ruling, citizens have a right to own AR-15s and that the court should clearly expand its ruling to include “common use” semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, making a similar argument to the one presented by the plaintiff.
It remains to be seen if the court will hear the case. If it does, then the conservative-leaning court could hand a major win to firearm rights activists by expanding previous rulings to clearly include the highly popular but much-derided AR-15 platform and similar semi-automatic centerfire rifles.
This story syndicated with permission from Will – Trending Politics
Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
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