ARs “Fall Outside Second Amendment”, Says US District Judge

    United States District Judge Catherine C. Blake has made a ruling in the Marlyand assault weapons ban lawsuit, Outdoor Wire reports:


    “Upon review of all the parties’ evidence, the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self-defense in the home, which is at the core of the Second Amendment right, and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual. First, the court is not persuaded that assault weapons are commonly possessed based on the absolute number of those weapons owned by the public. Even accepting that there are 8.2 million assault weapons in the civilian gun stock, as the plaintiffs claim, assault weapons represent no more than 3% of the current civilian gun stock, and ownership of those weapons is highly concentrated in less than 1% of the U.S. population. The court is also not persuaded by the plaintiffs’ claims that assault weapons are used infrequently in mass shootings and murders of law enforcement officers. The available statistics indicate that assault weapons are used disproportionately to their ownership in the general public and, furthermore, cause more injuries and more fatalities when they are used.
     As for their claims that assault weapons are well-suited for self-defense, the plaintiffs proffer no evidence beyond their desire to possess assault weapons for self-defense in the home that they are in fact commonly used, or possessed, for that purpose.
    Finally, despite the plaintiffs’ claims that they would like to use assault weapons for defensive purposes, assault weapons are military-style weapons designed for offensive use, and are equally, or possibly even more effective, in functioning and killing capacity as their fully automatic versions.
    Nevertheless, the court need not resolve whether the banned assault weapons and [large capacity magazines] are useful or commonly used for lawful purposes, see Woollard, 712 F.3d at 875–76 (making clear that courts need not decide the infringement issue to rule on Second Amendment claims), and will assume, although not decide, that the Firearm Safety Act places some burden on the Second Amendment right. See Heller II, 670 F.3d at 1260–6.”
    As a Maryland native, and one who worked behind the gun counter in that state during the 2013 rush, I found this decision interesting. The decision looks less agenda-driven, and instead poorly informed. I cannot comment on the effect of semiautomatic rifles on school shootings, except that bad guys having guns is obviously bad, and bad guys having better guns is obviously worse, but several lines betrayed clear unfamilarity with the subject on the part of the judge (especially the bit about semi-automatic rifles somehow possibly being more effective than fully automatic ones).
    Hopefully, an appeal will be filed, and normality eventually restored in Maryland.
    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]