Supreme Court Declines Challenge to Maryland Assault Weapons Ban

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





The Supreme Court recently decided not to wade into the legal fray surrounding Maryland’s ban on assault weapons, allowing the ongoing legal battle to continue its course. This means that Maryland’s law, which restricts certain types of semiautomatic rifles, will stay in place as the case moves forward.

The challengers of the ban had urged the Supreme Court to intervene before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit issued a ruling on the law’s constitutionality under the Second Amendment. While the 4th Circuit heard arguments in March, it has yet to render a decision, indicating that the matter may eventually circle back to the Supreme Court after the appellate court’s ruling.

Maryland’s ban on specific semiautomatic rifles was enacted in response to the tragic 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The law prohibits the possession, sale, transfer, or purchase of designated “assault long guns,” covering 45 specific weapons or their equivalents. Despite this ban, various semiautomatic handguns and rifles remain lawful under Maryland’s legislation.

In addition to Maryland, nine other states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws limiting semiautomatic weapons.

The challenge to Maryland’s ban was initiated in 2020 by a group of state residents, a licensed gun dealer, and multiple pro-Second Amendment organizations. They contended that the ban infringed upon their Second Amendment rights.

While the 4th Circuit had previously upheld the law, the Supreme Court’s decision not to review that ruling led to the case’s dismissal by a federal district court. However, the case reemerged before the Supreme Court following a 2022 ruling that expanded the interpretation of the Second Amendment.

This ruling established standards for evaluating the constitutionality of gun laws, resulting in the invalidation of several longstanding firearm restrictions deemed incompatible with historical regulatory traditions.

Despite calls from pro-gun rights groups for the Supreme Court to intervene, Maryland officials argued that it was premature for the Court to intercede. They asserted that Maryland’s ban on certain semiautomatic rifles aligns with historical firearm regulation traditions and stands up to constitutional scrutiny.

As the legal proceedings continue, the future of Maryland’s assault weapons ban remains uncertain, with potential ramifications for gun control measures nationwide.

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