The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Maryland ban on 45 kinds of assault rifles today, NBC reports.
In a 10-4 ruling the court said banned guns aren’t protected by the Second Amendment.
“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war,” Judge Robert King wrote for the court, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who helped pass the legislation as a state senator, said it’s, “unthinkable that these weapons of war, weapons that caused the carnage in Newtown and in other communities across the country, would be protected by the Second Amendment.”
“It’s a very strong opinion, and it has national significance, both because it’s en-banc and for the strength of its decision,” Frosh said, noting all of the 4th’s justices participated.
Judge William Traxler dissented, saying the majority decision, “has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.”
“For a law-abiding citizen who, for whatever reason, chooses to protect his home with a semi-automatic rifle instead of a semi-automatic handgun, Maryland’s law clearly imposes a significant burden on the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home, and it should at least be subject to strict scrutiny review before it is allowed to stand,” Traxler wrote.
National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said, “It is absurd to hold that the most popular rifle in America is not a protected ‘arm’ under the Second Amendment.”
Baker said the decision, “clearly ignores the Supreme Court’s guidance from District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects arms that are ‘in common use at the time for lawful purposes like self-defense.'”
The NRA may appeal the decision.
Elizabeth Banach, executive director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, called the decision, “overwhelming proof that reasonable measures to prevent gun violence are constitutional.”
“Maryland’s law needs to become a national model of evidence-based policies that will reduce gun violence,” Banach wrote.
(image via Shutterstock)