NRA Explore
APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Ruling Upholds Connecticut's Expansive Firearm and Magazine Bans Despite Findings that Banned Items are Commonly Used for Lawful Purposes

Friday, January 31, 2014

On January 30, 2014, a federal court judge upheld Connecticut's new gun control law as constitutional, notwithstanding its finding that "the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights …."  The ruling comes from U.S. District Court Judge Alfred Covello in response to a lawsuit filed last May challenging the constitutionality of Connecticut's new gun control legislation. In April, the Connecticut legislature hastily passed wide-ranging restrictions on Connecticut gun owners that embody several long-term planks of the anti-gunners' agenda, including an expanded ban on so-called "assault weapons," restrictions on magazine capacity, expansion of an existing "eligibility certificate" requirement to all firearms and ammunition, an expanded ban of private transfers, and registration of all non-conforming firearms and magazines, the possession of which was grandfathered under the law.

The plaintiffs in Shew v. Malloy, backed by the NRA, included the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, Connecticut Citizens Defense League, gun store owners, and individual citizens and focused on the bans of more than 100 additional commonly-owned firearms, as well as magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The case challenged the melodramatically and inaccurately titled law, "An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety," for violating plaintiffs' rights under the Second Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and for containing provisions that are unconstitutionally vague.

Covello dismissed all three constitutional challenges in the 47-page decision. In assessing the common use of semi-automatic rifles and standard capacity magazines, Covello invoked the Heller decision and found that that these firearms and magazines are, in fact, commonly owned and legally used nationwide, including in Connecticut.  He then disregarded his own findings of fact and wrote that the ban is justified because the government's asserted goal of reducing violence outweighs the Act's infringement on Second Amendment rights. Nevertheless, in finding that the bans satisfied intermediate scrutiny, he acknowledged that the "court cannot foretell how successful the legislation will be in preventing crime." He further acknowledged the vagueness of several provisions in the legislation and their need for clarity, but still dismissed any claim that the law is unconstitutionally vague.

Covello's decision was similar to the adverse ruling recently handed down in a case challenging New York's so-called "SAFE" Act. In both cases, the courts relied on the fact that although the banned weapons were commonly used for lawful purposes, other options still existed for people wishing to exercise their rights.  Needless to say, such reasoning would hardly be tenable if the government were to ban books or close places of worship, merely because other options it considered more acceptable were still available.  Also, notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that self-defense is at the "core" of the rights protected by the Second Amendment, both courts used the "lethality" of the banned firearms as a basis to reduce the protection they receive under the Second Amendment.  Whether further appellate review will resolve these contradictions, or perhaps merely add to them, remains to be seen.

An appeal in this case is already underway, and NRA will be sure to inform its members of any new developments. As NRA continues to take up similar battles in courtrooms across the nation, it is more important than ever to focus on making pro-gun gains in state legislatures and Congress this election season. The only way to prevent ill-informed court rulings that affect our fundamental, constitutional rights is to stop giving opportunities to anti-gun lawmakers both to pass unconstitutional legislation and to appoint judges who have no familiarity, understanding, or appreciation of firearms and their role in the fundamental right of self-defense.

TRENDING NOW
California: Governor Brown Takes Action on Final Firearm-Related Bills

Monday, September 26, 2016

California: Governor Brown Takes Action on Final Firearm-Related Bills

Today, Governor Brown made his decision on the final firearm-related bills of the 2016 legislative session that made it to his desk.   Governor Brown vetoed two anti-gun bills, AB 450 and SB 1332, and signed ...

Not The Victim Hillary Needs

News  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Not The Victim Hillary Needs

This feature appears in the October ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association. “Why can’t everyone just have their DNA on file? Then it would ...

California: Referendum Update

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

California: Referendum Update

On behalf of the National Rifle Association (NRA), we would like to thank all of the volunteers and individuals who participated in the Veto Gunmageddon ballot referendum qualification effort.  Despite the tremendous efforts of all involved, ...

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, was in New York City recently on an official visit. Commenting on the bombs that exploded while he was in town, he opined that such attacks are now simply ...

Show Your Support—NEW NRA Yard Signs Available!

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Show Your Support—NEW NRA Yard Signs Available!

Show your support for NRA and the Second Amendment this election cycle by purchasing an NRA yard sign.  With everything that is at stake this year, including the Presidency, the balance of the U.S. Senate ...

Virginia Politician and Clinton Backer Brands Trump Supporters as “Mentally Deficient”

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Virginia Politician and Clinton Backer Brands Trump Supporters as “Mentally Deficient”

With the presidential race tighter than ever as it heads into its final stretch, panicked Hillary Clinton supporters are desperate to find a way to discredit, not just Donald Trump, but anyone who would dare ...

Montana: Bloomberg Targeting Missoula – Your Action Needed NOW!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Montana: Bloomberg Targeting Missoula – Your Action Needed NOW!

On Monday, September 26, the Missoula City Council is scheduled to consider an ordinance that would only create a burden for law-abiding citizens and may turn them into criminals if they unknowingly violate the ordinance.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

News  

Friday, July 1, 2016

California Governor Signs Draconian Gun Control Package into Law

Fairfax, Va.— California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a package of gun bills that were rushed through the state legislature with no regard for proper process. The National Rifle Association Institute for ...

Pennsylvania: Semi-Automatic Rifle Hunting Legislation will go to the House Floor Next Week!

Hunting  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pennsylvania: Semi-Automatic Rifle Hunting Legislation will go to the House Floor Next Week!

Next week, and important pro-hunting reform bill, Senate Bill 737, may be considered in the House of Representatives.  Please call your state Representative and urge them to vote in favor of Senate Bill 737!

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.