Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Fourth Circuit Requires “Strict Scrutiny” for Maryland Gun and Magazine Ban

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fourth Circuit Requires “Strict Scrutiny” for Maryland Gun and Magazine Ban

It hasn’t been a good week for Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, would-be contender for President of the United States, and staunch gun control advocate.

As we report elsewhere, O’Malley was finally forced to drop out of the Democratic primary on Tuesday after failing to garner even a single delegate at the Iowa Caucus.

Then, on Thursday, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion that may spell doom for O’Malley’s signature legislative “achievement” as governor, the so-called Firearm Safety Act of 2013 (FSA). This act ushered in a long list of onerous gun control measures, but its centerpiece is a broad ban on popular semiautomatic rifles, as well as magazines with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds.

During the presidential campaign, O’Malley often touted enactment of the FSA as an example of his “leadership.” That’s what O’Malley calls jamming a divisive, partisan, and ineffectual law down the throats of his constituents, one that may now collapse under the weight of its own unconstitutionality. No wonder the caucus voters stayed away from him in droves.

On the other hand, the Fourth Circuit’s opinion in the case, Kolbe v. Hogan, is positive news for Second Amendment advocates. While the appellate court did not directly invalidate the challenged “assault weapon” and magazine bans, it faulted the lower court for its dismissive “intermediate scrutiny” analysis and returned the case for reconsideration under “strict scrutiny,” the most demanding test in constitutional law. Dissenting Judge Robert B. King, a Bill Clinton appointee, explains the significance of this decision by lamenting, “I fear … the panel majority has guaranteed the demise of the FSA ….”

Only time will tell if that’s true. For now, however, the majority decision contains a number of very significant findings of fact and conclusions of law that strongly reinforce the protections of the Second Amendment in the Fourth Circuit. It also creates the potential for a circuit split with other judicial circuits that have upheld semi-auto bans and/or magazine capacity limits. This could increase the odds that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue of semi-auto and magazine bans and determine a rule applicable to the entire country.

In contrast to the majority’s rational and sober opinion on the Second Amendment claim, Judge King’s dissent features the sort of hyperbole and emotionalism typically associated with the gun control movement, in addition to patent errors of fact and law. “Let’s be real,” he scolds, “The assault weapons banned by Maryland’s FSA are exceptionally lethal weapons of war.” He also earns an unusual rebuke from the majority for his thinly-disguised suggestion that they could end up with blood on their hands by setting the stage for further mass shootings. “[I]nferences of this nature have no place in judicial opinions,” the majority retorts, “and we will not respond beyond noting this.” Echoing a scene from the Tom Cruise film “A Few Good Men,” Judge King signs off by dramatically noting, “I wholeheartedly dissent.”

While the saga of the FSA is far from over and the law’s ultimate fate still undetermined, the panel’s decision is a significant step forward for continued judicial recognition of the Second Amendment. It’s also a timely and poignant reminder of the need to elect a president who will both respect the right to keep and bear arms and appoint judges who will resolve cases based on the dictates of the Constitution and not on their own emotional reactions to hot-button issues they don’t understand.

TRENDING NOW
Wisconsin: Important Right to Carry Bill Introduced

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wisconsin: Important Right to Carry Bill Introduced

Today, LRB 2039/1 was introduced to the Wisconsin State Legislature.  This Right to Carry bill would allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license anywhere in the state where an ...

California: One Gun a Month Bill Pulled from Senate Public Safety Hearing

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

California: One Gun a Month Bill Pulled from Senate Public Safety Hearing

Today, Tuesday, March 28, anti-gun SB 497, was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.  At the last minute, the bill was pulled from today's agenda. Thank you to all who contacted the ...

Texas: Senate Passes SB 16, LTC Fee Reduction Bill, by Overwhelming Vote

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Texas: Senate Passes SB 16, LTC Fee Reduction Bill, by Overwhelming Vote

On Monday, the Texas Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 16, NRA-backed legislation sponsored by State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston), on a 26-5 vote.

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a ...

Virginia Action Needed: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Self-Defense Bills

Monday, March 27, 2017

Virginia Action Needed: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Self-Defense Bills

Following their passage in the Virginia General Assembly, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed multiple self-defense bills; Senate Bill 1299, Senate Bill 1300, House Bill 1852, and House Bill 1853. 

News  

Monday, March 27, 2017

NRA Applauds Texas State Senate for Passing SB 16

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action applauds the Texas Senate today for passing Senate Bill 16, legislation that substantially reduces License To Carry fees in the Lone Star state.

Georgia: Senate Passes Pro-Gun Bills – Governor Needs to Hear From You!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Georgia: Senate Passes Pro-Gun Bills – Governor Needs to Hear From You!

Today, the Georgia Senate passed pro-gun bills; House Bill 406, House Bill 292, and House Bill 280. 

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

Last week, we wrote about Americans for Responsible Solutions’ irresponsible misinformation about The Hearing Protection Act on Twitter.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who took notice of ARS’s complete disregard for the facts on ...

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of ...

California: Anti-Gun Bill Limiting Firearm Purchases to be Heard in Senate Public Safety on Tuesday, March 28

Friday, March 24, 2017

California: Anti-Gun Bill Limiting Firearm Purchases to be Heard in Senate Public Safety on Tuesday, March 28

On Tuesday, March 28, anti-gun SB 497, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.  SB 497 would expand the existing one handgun a month law to include ALL guns.  

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.