U.S. appeals court upholds Maryland’s ban on assault rifles

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By Brendan O’Brien

<span class="articleLocation”>A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld
Maryland’s ban on assault rifles, ruling gun owners are not
protected under the U.S. Constitution to possess “weapons of
war,” court documents showed.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided
10-4 that the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, a law in response to
the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, by a gunman with an
assault rifle, does not violate the right to bear arms within
the Second Amendment.

“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment
protection to the weapons of war,” Judge Robert King wrote,
referring to the “military-style rifles” that were also used
during mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, San Bernardino,
California, and Orlando, Florida.

These are “places whose names have become synonymous with
the slaughters that occurred there,” he wrote, noting that the
Supreme Court’s decision in the 2008 District of Columbia v.
Heller case excluded coverage of assault weapons.

The United States has among the most permissive gun rights
in the world. Because the U.S. Congress has long been a
graveyard for gun control legislation, some states and
localities have enacted their own measures.

In total, seven states and the District of Columbia have
laws that ban semiautomatic rifles, several of which that have
faced various court challenges as there is a longstanding legal
debate over the scope of Second Amendment rights.

Four appeal courts have rejected Second Amendment challenges
to bans on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, King

In 2015, U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake upheld
Maryland’s law that bans the AR-15 and other military-style
rifles and shotguns and limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds,
but a smaller panel of circuit court judges reversed her ruling
in 2016. The case could be eventually be heard by the Supreme

The majority “has gone to greater lengths than any other
court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to
keep and bear arms,” Judge William Traxler wrote in the dissent
of the ruling released on Tuesday.

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