Supreme Court Shuts Down Challenge to ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

( – The United States Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a Maryland gun law that bans weapons considered to be “assault-style” weapons including the M-16 and AR-15 on Monday, May 20th. The court’s decision leaves the ban intact for now. This type of gun was outlawed in Maryland in 2013 following the Sandy Hook school shooting. Twenty children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012.

The law makes it illegal to buy, possess, transfer, or sell 45 specific types of “assault long gun” weapons but a few types of semiautomatic handguns and rifles are still allowed. Nine other states have also enacted laws with similar restrictions on semiautomatic weapons.

Challengers to the law including Maryland residents, a licensed gun dealer, and pro-Second Amendment groups have argued that the ban violates the Second Amendment. Maryland’s Attorney General Anthony Brown said the guns are “highly dangerous, military-style weapons” and that Maryland’s ban on this type of weapon is Constitutional and is consistent with “our nation’s historical tradition of firearms regulation” because they pose “heightened dangers to public safety.”

The law has been challenged before and was sent to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia. Arguments were heard in March, but the lower court has not yet made a decision. Challengers of the ban asked the Supreme Court to step in because the 4th Circuit was taking too long. The Supreme Court refused to hear the challenge allowing the lower court time to come to a decision.

Pro-Second Amendment challengers of the Maryland assault weapon ban claim a “fundamental right” is at stake. The Supreme Court recently declared a gun law in New York unconstitutional and ruled that the Second Amendment protected the right to carry a pistol in public. The high court is currently considering a 30-year law that bans domestic violence offenders from owning firearms and whether to continue a federal ban on “bump stocks.”

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