Fundamental Right To Own MSR Weapons

Huffington Post is reporting that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said:

Maryland’s prohibition on what the court called “the vast majority of semi-automatic rifles commonly kept by several million American citizens” amounted to a violation of their rights under the Constitution.

Ok let us ignore the misuse of the word “assault weapons” as we all know that term is misused for modern sporting rifles. What is MORE important is what this judgement has done. This new outcome can lead to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court takes this on and agrees with the Court of Appeals, then it will become the law of the land and cannot be contested according to my friend who works for the US Courts including the 4th circuit. This might possbily lead to reversing such bans like the NYSAFE act in NY.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • Well, the road to final victory is long:
    1. Survive the en banc appeal
    2. Have the district court rule like they should (and not just apply rational basis and somehow call it strict scrutiny, ala the 2A 2step)

    3. Survive another circuit court appeal (and possible en banc?)
    4. Get SCOTUS to take the (hopefully winning) case
    5. Get SCOTUS to rule like we want, which would kill every AWB and mag cap limit in the country.

    We are years from all of that, unfortunately. There is a POSSIBILITY we could grab a stay on the MD law between 2 and 3, which would be nice.

    • Let me also note that 4 is very unlikely to happen. The possibility that the MD AG would lose at SCOTUS and kill every AWB and mag cap limit in the country is too much risk, even for his gun-hating self. More likely, he’ll stop, and some other losing (in our view) case will need to appeal to SCOTUS. As it is, this case is dangerous enough to national gun control that the MD legislature might consider repeal of the state AWB in a year or two just so they can moot the case… we’ll see.

      • KestrelBike

        Exactly what I’ve been thinking. Every other state would lean like hell on MD to take one for the team.

    • Patrick Karmel Shamsuddoha

      woot woot slow rolling train to freedom … All Aboard …. Legal fees! let me see your billable hours ….

    • Jeebus

      As a Marylander, I just wanna be able to buy AKs again 🙂

      • Edeco

        That’s understandable, but from a tactical perspective (the only perspective I use) might you not be playing not to lose, rather’n playing to win…

      • You can still have an AK… it just needs to be an SBR > 29″ in OAL and not have two
        evil features (which, in practice, means it can’t have a folding stock
        and flash hider at the same time). Zastava pistols are great for these builds.

      • S. Plankenberg

        Why are you STILL a Marylander anyway?

        The state taxes you pay each year are being used to fund the taking of your Constitutional rights.

        You are basically paying for the rope they will hang you with.

    • I can feel the gears of bureaucracy grinding us up already…….

    • S. Plankenberg

      Be careful what you wish for.

      The next President , probably Hillary or Biden, will get to appoint at least two replacement Supreme Court Justices.

      They WILL NOT be conservatives or constitutionalists.

      If I recall correctly, our side has only won recent gun cases by a one vote margin.

      • Tim Pearce

        You recall correctly.

        Also, the potential problems of court stacking are not limited to Hillary (Biden’s not running).
        Sanders has had a mixed record on the human right of self-defense, and wants to change the status quo (or claims to). I’m not 100% on this, but I don’t believe many of those that would be accused of “legislating from the bench” are in favor of gun rights.
        Trump also has a mixed record on the human right of self-defense, at least based on statements he’s made in the past. I also don’t trust him to have a firm enough grasp of what it’s like to not be surrounded by armed security.

        • S. Plankenberg

          If something causes Hillary to drop out of the race, Biden will almost certainly run, and win. Even against Trump. Cruz can ot beat anybody the Democrats would run, unfortunately.
          There is some chance Biden will be on the ticket with Hillary as VP, with the idea that if Hillary has to resign the Presidency for health reasons, he can fill the slot, and finish the transformation Obamus started. Also he is infinitely more likeable than the Hildabeast, which will help her a lot on the campaign trail.
          All he has to do is enter the race no later than the end of the Democrat Convention, skipping all the primaries. I don’t know the date for that.

  • Tom – UK

    Would that make California compliant weapons a thing of the past?

    • Evan

      It would

    • Phil Hsueh

      No, unfortunately probably not, this is a 4th District ruling only and CA is 9th. But it might be enough to influence the judges on 9th, but I don’t know how much these judges are influenced by precedence from other districts though.

      • gunsandrockets

        Until the issue is actually addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the matter is settled constitutional law in the 9th. Which means, right now if you are a resident of California you are at the total mercy of the state and local governments.

      • Bill

        And given the Fightin’ 9th’s ruling on things like TASER and OC use I don’t thing they are going to advance gun law. More likely they’ll require all ammo be converted to Nerf rounds.

    • gunsandrockets

      In the long run, yes.

  • Mike N.

    The best route to final victory would be federal preemption of state-level AWBs (using the commerce clause).

    • That’s dangerous. What if the composition of Congress changes to something we don’t like?

      • Mike N.

        How’s that different from the status quo? There’s always a risk of Congress changing. Nonetheless, federal legislation is the quickest and easiest way to eliminate all the state level AWBs. Places like CA, NY, and NJ are never going to repeal theirs on their own.

        • hikerguy

          The next president will possibly appoint 3 to 4 considering the judges’ age to the supreme court in the next term or two. I am more concerned about that than congress.

        • nadnerbus

          As someone that lives in a ban state, please don’t pursue that route. The federal government doesn’t need to stretch the commerce clause to control even more things any further that it already has been. Further centralizing control of all things in Washington just means the next time the wind blows in a different direction, the changes will come even faster and more furious across the country. Leave federalism be.

          At least this way, when a state passes laws that are dismal failures, the people have a better chance of getting it changed at the state level than the federal; people can move, and other states can take a lesson from them. When the feds screw up a law, we are usually stuck with it for the duration.

    • Abram

      Promoting Federalism will not help our overall situation. Similar to why a national reciprocity carry law is more of a problem than a solution.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Even if we lose, there’s still the non-compliance route 🙂

    • Budogunner

      Good luck with that. They will ruin or end your life if they can and spin you as the villain on the evening news.

      Don’t count on there being any justice in the Justice System. Not in this country, not any more.

      • BattleshipGrey

        I’m not saying it’s ideal, but the fact that there is no justice anymore is an even stronger reason why people should not abide by unconstitutional laws and rulings. Thugs that HAVE shot people are out walking the streets (and still shooting people). Even if they’ve been to prison, it’s only a fraction of what they should have served.

        • Budogunner

          I certainly agree that the system is broken, but still maintain noncompliance comes with a high price for anyone wishing to make a statement.

          Suddenly, YOU are that thug that society believes should have been in prison longer and won’t employ. Don’t think for a second the stigma ends with you. Consider your spouse and/or children.

          You can be completely in the right, but the system can make you persona non grata, an exile from society forced to live within it. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

          Let lobbyists and Lawyers fight this. If you take it on alone you lose, even if you ‘win’ in court.

          • Cymond

            I agree with you and want to add:
            Some people say “better to be judged by 12 than carrier by 6.” As I see it, either way, life as you know it is over. I’d prefer Option C:Neither.

            I’d prefer to use a compliant weapon like a pump action shotgun and go home a free man than defend myself with a noncompliant weapon and be arrested. And frankly, if I were arrested after self defense, I’d much rather face a jury after using something that looks like their granpappy’s shotgun than an ‘evil murder hose’ they see on the news.

  • Samael527

    “firearms not politics”

    • Nicholas C

      This is Law not politics.

      • Samael527

        ay man it doesn’t bother me, I like hearing updates about gun laws. I’m also deliberately egging you on.

        However, I will say that discussing a current court ruling and then going on about how certain current laws should be overturned, or at the very least it would be a good thing if they are, looks like political speech. Politics does deal with the implementation/overturning of laws does it not?

        pls don’t ban me

      • hydepark

        You’re both missing the point. This is political. TFB can proudly proclaim to be free of politics all it wants. Firearms and politics are inseparable. And for the purposes of this blog that’s a good thing. No need to shy away and start licking boots here. I wish there were more political articles (than there already are).

      • Cymond

        How is discussion of legislation and its Constitutional validity not political?

  • Joe

    “Firearms not politics.”

    • Liv Sining

      This is Nicholas C. If you look at the articles he posts, it isn’t clear he understands the difference. It is a shame, most of the other writers do a good job of differentiating.

      • Isaac O. Lees

        I mean, anyone who thinks the Kriss Vector is a weapon worthy of it’s own forum probably has a few rounds missing from his magazine if you take my meaning.

      • Nicholas C

        Perhaps you miss the division between Law and Politics. This is Law. Not politics.

        • Anonymous

          As someone who’s job revolves solely around the law, I think its funny that you think there is a division between law and politics. Politicians make the law and politicians enforce the law. Please just don’t turn this into The Truth About Guns.

          • It would take a lot to get to TTAG level. Basic facts of whats happening in the legal field isn’t a bad thing.

          • Edeco

            Yes, not TTAG. Please no. *shudder*

          • hydepark

            Why all the TTAG hate over here? I’m genuinely interested. Is it because people prefer to go about their lives pretending the world is rainbows and lollipops? I usually don’t read many of the comments (there are far too many) because some of them get wild. But, the blog does a huge service in promoting actual liberty. It has further opened my eyes to what true Libertarianism is and what our Constitutional Republic should (could) be. Equal protection under the law, due process, property rights, the list goes on. Also I rarely find grammatical errors on TTAG. The “Editors” here, on the other hand, seem to be at an 8th or 9th grade level at best.

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, maybe because TTAG is simply shady (check out Robert Faragos past) + they never aknowledge mistakes (called the MWG magazines magpul knockoffs in spite of coming out before Magpuls own mags).

            That and they seem to attract every gun people stereotype. Y’know the whole “I’m a hardcore sheepdawg” thing which is too redneck even for Southern Louisiana .

            EDIT: It is long but might shed light:

          • hydepark

            Interesting. I’ll have to look into some of that. I was just assuming it was a TFB good TTAG bad bandwagon or something. Meanwhile, Mike over at ENDO has made several anti-gay slurs and I don’t see anyone in that community (or this one) calling him out for being a bigot.

          • Edeco

            Has he? I mean, he uses risque turns of phrase playfully, but, you know seriously…

          • iksnilol

            Seriously, didn’t know that about Endo Mike. Sad, me and him are homies fo shizzle 😛

          • Edeco

            I’m not feeling a problem. I’ve been reading there for months, haven’t seen slurs. I doubt Mike is anti-, maybe he’s a little quaint about it, maybe was a little too boisterous at some point… in any case there doesn’t seem to be an agenda being pushed along with gun stuff, like “no true freedom without traditional values”, that sort of thing. That I couldn’t be a party to. So, for my part, whatever.

          • John Davis


          • hydepark

            I won’t do your homework for you but you can search for my Disqus username in his comments and I’ve called him out several times over the past few years. In fact I quit reading his blog for quite some time because of it.

          • John Davis

            That’s not how making accusations works. It’s on you to prove your case.

          • hydepark

            It’s not an accusation it’s a fact. Feel free to have whatever opinion of the matter you’d like. Just like I’ll be doing some of my own research on Farago when I get the time.

          • John Davis

            If you can’t provide even a single example, your just being a libelous troll.

          • hydepark

            Sorry I didn’t see your response. I guess having a job doesn’t allow me to comment on blogs full time. But yeah, like I said, go over there and do a simple search. You seem to have plenty of time on your hands. I’ve called Mike out several times, and have gotten similar responses each time. And like I’ve also said before, I like ENDO.

          • John Davis

            But yet you won’t prove it.

          • cargosquid

            I’d forgotten about ENDO. Thanks.

            TTAG is not liked because the site steals material.

          • Bill

            OK, I’ll call him out. Bigotry is bigotry, whether it’s race, ethnicity, sexual preference, or position on gun rights. People can’t complain about being poor downtrodden victimized pro-gunners if they demonstrate the same attitude towards others. And I’m guessing that their are gay gunners- I’ve never been asked my sexual preference on a 4473. If I was it would be: Yes, with girls, as often as possible.

          • Blake
          • Cymond

            I’ve criticized ENDO Mike a few times on here for this.
            everydaynodaysoff dot com/2010/05/27/oregon-man-shoots-at-iphone-robbers-getaway-car/
            He openly approves of summarily executing nonviolent thieves on the spot.

            Yeah it was almost 6 years ago, but that’s the kind of extremism that I can’t forgive unless he renounces it.

          • Edeco

            In a nutshell, when I’d dial up TTAG I end up thinking “wow, the gun community is not ready to come in out of the woods yet.”

            To be more specific, the writers and then the commenters don’t think the way I do, we disagree on some things. Also the writers are stuffy, and the commenters like to have dong-waving contests. But that’s OK, they do a lot of content, there’s a crowd there that I guess loves what they’re dishing out, like to get fired up on it. God bless, but none for me thanks. I just won’t linger and try to pee on their rainbows-and-lollipops, nor submit my rainbows-and-lollipops to be whizzed on.

          • Anonymous

            Personally, I don’t like TTAG because a lot of their articles and readers in the past have been anti LEO (which I am an LEO). Some of them genuinely hate law enforcement. And you know what, that’s fine, but I would rather read about interesting and new gear/guns than about how I’m a terrible jack-booted thug (which I have been called on that sit) because I cary a badge and don’t think someone who commits an armed robbery shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun. By all means post articles about gun freedoms we gain back (if we ever gain them back). But don’t turn your web site into the conservative version of huffington post.

          • Anonymous

            Edit: I DONT think a violent felon should own a gun

          • What you want to compare degrees:-)

          • hydepark

            Sure thing. It’s like 50 here. Or if you meant like a college degree we can do that too. Maybe you’d prefer to jump straight to ———? I’m huge. Oh and mine still works. How’s your prostate Phil?

          • I make a joke and you come back with insults and language we don’t allow here.

          • hydepark

            Hey it was approved right?

          • After I got rid of the garbage. Seriously why all the negative attitude?

          • De Facto


            Regardless, the law directly affects our ability to use firearms. Guns are highly politicized in the US. Can’t avoid some political mention. Commentors just need to keep it civil and gun related.

            Unlike TTAG.

          • Anonymoose

            If only TTAG would switch to Disqus like TFB and ENDO did, so we could have quick access to discussion…

          • If only TTAG would switch to Disqus so the comments would be worth a damn. Seriously, it’s completely crap compared to….pretty much anything.

          • n0truscotsman

            there were many reasons why i washed my hands of ttag a long time ago. The fact that loaded pages would crash my browser everytime didn’t help.

    • Just Sayin’

      No politicians were harmed in the process of publishing of this post.

    • nadnerbus

      TFB has run blog posts about court cases involving guns, and even some of the gun laws instituted around the country, in the past. It definitely brushes up against the “guns not politics” rubric, but I don’t think it crosses it.

      If they follow up the headline with an article talking about “leftist dumbocrat gun grabbers” or something like that, then we have a problem.

    • Rock or Something

      “…man is by nature a political animal”


  • Marc

    “Modern sporting rifle” is a loaded term just like “assault rifle”. “Semi-automatic rifle” is the objective term.

    • Nicholas C

      True but BATF has a definition for “Assault Weapon”. MSR and Semi Automatic Rifle are synonyms to me.

    • gunsandrockets

      I prefer the term ‘self-loading rifle’ to ‘semi-automatic rifle’. It’s just as technically accurate and less likely to be misunderstood by low-information voters.

      • Bill

        I beg to differ: the shooter loads the rifle.

        • imachinegunstuff

          The shooter loads the rounds in the magazine, the magazine in the rifel and the first round into the weapon, after that it self loads

        • gunsandrockets

          You never heard of the Winchester Model 1907 Self-Loading-Rifle? Or how Brits refer to their selector-locked FAL rifles as the SLR? Self-loading rifle is a term in common use for more than 100 years. A lot longer than the term semi-automatic has been in common use.

          • Bill

            Yeah, I’ve heard of them, but until firearms develop opposable thumbs and can open a box of cartridges, they require human intervention to load.

      • n0truscotsman

        It has that classical ring to it also…/two thumbs up/

    • Ethan

      Or just “Carbine”.

  • Wolfgar

    Well, potential good news for a change, thank’s for the up-date.

  • Edeco

    Yeah, but “commonly kept”. Bird in hand or thing that bite us in the butt?

    • Evan

      I think “commonly kept” in this instance means more along the lines of “pretty much every other state allows this; Maryland’s ban is egregious.” Akin to Maryland banning say motorcycles that are deemed road legal everywhere else in the country etc.

      • Edeco

        I don’t disagree with your explanation. Maybe I was unclear about my concern. I read part of the opinion and as I’d suspected it mentions that thing about only weapons [b]in common use[/b] being protected. Well, I can’t wish that dogma away, but having it associated with an ostensibly pro-gun ruling? Yech. And the payoff is the right to own in MD? I think MD is a weak, diseased limb for whoever, that is pro-gun or anti-, prevails over it. I think maybe we’ve been sold a lemon, and the gun rights cause is better of with MD as martyrs. Beg pardon anyone from MD on here 😛

  • aka_mythos

    If this wins I think the next long term hurdle is that the position in opposition to these laws are based on the ubiquity and commonality of the class of firearm… At some point we will have to worry about future classes of weapons that have yet to reach that level of commonality being banned before having the opportunity to wide acceptance. For example aim assist or computer assisted firearms like the Tracking point rifles.

    There isn’t any reason that technology won’t become cheaper and more widely used which opens it up to the likely hood someone before we reach commonality will use it criminally. At that point there will be calls to ban.

    • Edeco

      Well said. I don’t accept commonality as a premise. Si Omnes-Ego Non.

  • daniel

    Just out of curiosity, would a Total repeal of the SAFE act change things for us in NYC? Our gun laws are the worst in the nation.
    Barring that, what kind of federal action WOULD force NYC to at least conform to NY standards?

  • Major Tom

    Is that an RPD in the opening pic? And if so, is it fully functional and full auto? Cuz he’s a lucky dog if it is all of the above.

  • jcbauerca

    If the SCOTUS agrees can the state add all sorts of requirements to neuter the rifle like in California?

    Never mind just read the answers below.

  • lurpy

    I’m seeing a lot of people define this as the Fourth Circuit ruling that assault weapon bans are unconstitutional. That’s not actually what happened; the reality is both more complex and more interesting. The district court ruled that Maryland’s assault weapons ban was constitutional, because it applied “rational basis review,” which is the standard for most laws–basically, it just means that a restriction must be reasonably related to its goal. Usually, it’s used for non-enumerated rights. For instance, restrictions on movement such as drivers’ licenses, registration/insurance requirements, etc. are rationally related to public safety on the roads, so they’re fine. Laws that directly impact an enumerated right, however, are subject to “strict scrutiny,” which basically means that the legislation must not only be related to a compelling interest of the government, but must also be narrowly tailored to have the least impact on rights. For instance, laws against nonconsensual pornography are acceptable in the interest of protecting citizens from abuse, but they must be written in such a way that legitimate exercises of free speech are not affected.

    What the 4th Circuit did here was to say that the district court’s application of rational basis review to the AWB was incorrect–that as an enumerated right, defined in Heller as an individual right and incorporated against the states by the 14th Amendment, restrictions on the Second Amendment must be subject to strict scrutiny. The 4th Circuit did not actually rule on whether the AWB passed strict scrutiny; the case now returns to the district court where they must apply strict scrutiny to the AWB.

    While it doesn’t overturn any particular law, this decision is actually pretty exciting for gun rights advocates. In the Fourth Circuit states, and in other circuits that may agree (or potentially every state if other circuits disagree and SCOTUS resolves the split by agreeing with the Fourth Circuit), governments would now have to prove that the gun laws they passed furthered a compelling interest and were not unnecessarily burdensome. AWBs may or may not be included; who knows how the court will rule. But other laws would also be implicated–things like excessive fees, which not only affect the exercise of Second Amendment rights but effectively burden poor citizens to a greater degree, or subjective permitting qualifications, which have strong potential for discrimination against minorities, would also be up for review.

  • Bill

    Are M1As, Tavors, SIG MCXs, etc. ad infinitum “modern sporting rifles?” This kind of disingenuous word game makes the politics or law or PR aspect all the more hard to swallow. Maybe “Viet Cong Killin’ Gun?”

    Sorry, spent the afternoon, listening to lawyers the English language into potato salad.

    • Abram

      I second. Why would anyone be eager to categorize firearms under such a narrow definition? I reckon it’s likely to come back and bite us worse than ‘assault weapon’. Would it make it all better if they called it the ‘Modern Sporting Rifle Ban’?

    • Ebby123

      Agreed. It gives credence to the utter lie that civilians must justify their basic human rights by “sporting purposes”.

      I own an AR-15 because it is an highly effective means to deactivate another human being, should I be forced to do so in the defense of my family’s life or liberty.

      Full stop. No apology given or needed.

      • Bill

        I’ve always said that the AR15 was the Kentucky Long Rifle of the last several generations, and one should be hanging over the mantle of every hearth in America.

  • WFDT

    I live in Maryland. My local gun store is chock-full of ARs. I think they can only sell the heavy-barrel version, though. I admit I’m not up on the law as I bought my Colt SP1 before the ban.
    What pisses me off is that the same store has M1As for sale, but only to DC residents. That’s some twisted logic right there.

    • Scott P

      Only government/thin barreled 5.56 AR’s are banned. Any other caliber of AR is fair game in MD to buy with government/thin barrels.

  • RickfromPaso

    Just remember, the next president will choose 3, possibly 4 supreme court justices. Vote as if your freedom depends on it, it does.

    • Ethan

      This is the single greatest reason to vote. Its the only reason I’m keeping my head in the election this year. As Obama has demonstrated, the President’s power is largely symbolic, except for his ability to appoint supreme court Justices.

      We only won Heller on a 5-4 vote. Literally one vote difference would have obliterated the Constitution and changed U.S. history.

      If you have to vote for someone you hate, vote for someone who will appoint judges who take the Constitution at its word, not revisionist historians.

  • Mystick

    Maryland has a history of ignoring ruling and miring them in some technicality when it’s convenient for it’s purposes. Failing that, another law will be made and that, too, will be in force until it trickles through the decade-long litigation process again.

  • gunsandrockets

    You know the acronym MSR could also stand for Modern Self-defense Rifle! Though MSDR is better. Anytime someone calls these rifles MSR I will call them MSDR.

  • Cknarf

    Ha. That photo was taken at my LGS.