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BREAKING! HUGE WIN! Maryland scary gun semi-auto ban struck down entirely!

February 4, 2016

federalcourts

Just released.

In the case of Kolbe v. O’Malley, the US Fourth Circuit of Appeals overturned a district court decision upholding the Maryland “Firearm Safety Act” which banned scary semi-auto rifles and full capacity magazines.

That law is now null and void and this creates a split between the Fourth Circuit and the Seventh Circuit (which upheld the Highland Park, IL scary gun ban).

We are giddy!

The entire decision can be found here. 

TRAXLER, Chief Judge, wrote the opinion for the court as to Parts I, II, and III, in which Judge Agee joined.

In April 2013, Maryland passed the Firearm Safety Act (“FSA”), which, among other things, bans law-abiding citizens, with the exception of retired law enforcement officers, from possessing the vast majority of semi-automatic rifles commonly kept by several million American citizens for defending their families and homes and other lawful purposes. Plaintiffs raise a number of challenges to the FSA, contending that the “assault weapons” ban trenches upon the core Second Amendment right to keep firearms in defense of hearth and home, that the FSA’s ban of certain larger-capacity detachable magazines (“LCMs”) likewise violates the Second Amendment, that the exception to the ban for retired officers violates the Equal Protection Clause, and that the FSA is void for vagueness to the extent that it prohibits possession of “copies” of the specifically identified semi-automatic rifles banned by the FSA. The district court rejected Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment challenges, concluding that the “assault weapons” and larger-capacity magazine bans passed constitutional muster under intermediate scrutiny review. The district court also denied Plaintiffs’ equal protection and vagueness claims.

In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment—“the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home,” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions, to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard of review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim. Thus, the panel vacates the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims and remands for the district court to apply strict scrutiny. The panel affirms the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ Equal Protection challenge to the statutory exception allowing retired law enforcement officers to possess prohibited semi-automatic rifles. And, the panel affirms the district court’s conclusion that the term “copies” as used by the FSA is not unconstitutionally vague.

16 Responses to BREAKING! HUGE WIN! Maryland scary gun semi-auto ban struck down entirely!

  1. A different John on February 4, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Don’t celebrate too much just yet. The district court verdict may have been reversed, but the law was not declared unconstitutional. The case is just being sent back to the district court to be re-heard; this time to be reviewed under strict scrutiny.

    Don’t underestimate the ability of the district court to word-torture the law – citing dissenting opinions and vacated cases – to get the end result they desire.

    A small win and good news nonetheless, but not a final victory. The State and the district court aren’t just going to roll over. I suspect it will be back to the circuit court again.

    Without an injunction to vacate the law pending review, it’ll still be illegal to own many common firearms in MD.

    • Ken on February 4, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Yeah, to be honest, I don’t even know how you could have gotten that IMPRESSION from reading the opinion.

      Don’t get ahead of ourselves yet, however, it won’t pass strict scrutiny on remand. If it does, THEN you’ll have the split in authority and it’ll be “ripe” for Supreme Court action.

      So, save the .htm of this posting another year, and then you can repost it!

      Nevertheless, as different John, above, say, it is good news! Cause it now takes a circuit split to get the bastard-child 7th Circus (hi, guys! you’re all a bunch of aholes! Ken says so!) before the Supreme Court for review.

      • Ken on February 5, 2016 at 2:27 am

        Oh, now I know what happened! Johnnnie, boy, are you culling your news from the Puffington Host?????????

        I just read a Huffpo story that says essentially the same thing.

        That author CLEARLY did not read the court’s opinion either.

      • A different John on February 5, 2016 at 10:39 am

        to Ken, (below)

        I don’t read HuffPo. (That is unless TTAG or GSL link to a particularly humorous bit of bloviation.) I like abbreviating your moniker for them: PuffHo

        I did however read the the entire opinion, word for word; including the rather tortured, grasping and entirely illogical dissent. The dissent, chock-full of unsubstantiated hypotheticals, does read as if HuffPo wrote it.

        It is a small win. I’m really happy it was any kind of win, rare as they seem to be nowadays. It’s just not the last word.

      • Ken on February 5, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        Not you, John. The other, other, John.

        He didn’t read the opinion. He (I believe) read the HuffPo’s synopsis of the case, and THEIR writer didn’t read the opinion either!

        This is SUCH a BAD journalistic error, John B., that you really should CORRECT the story.

        You’re misleading ALL your readers.

  2. Hazen Lancaster on February 4, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    These gun laws are serious hurting my firearms business. I hope something is done why I watch my money go over state lines. How in the Hell can it be Constitutional to force Americans out of business because of how you feel about something most of these folks know nothing about(gun). State outlawed all AR rifles priced under $1000.00 mostly so folks couldn’t afford one. Making rifles illegal by the manufacturing name alone in my judgement just because the rifles are affordable. This is sick and all involved should be demoted and the ones who went all out should be fired! I run a small shop in Laurel, MD and heck I’m thinking about moving somewhere gun friendly cause these OVERSEERS here in Maryland are too much.

    • A different John on February 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      I hate to blame the victim in all of this, meaning you. But you need to inform more of your friends and neighbors – and even people you don’t like – that elections matter. When you get more freedom-loving politicians in office; politicians that trust their constituency and protect their rights; then then these kinds of laws are less likely.

      In other words, “Vote the bums out!”

      • Dyspeptic Skeptic on February 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm

        Elections matter, indeed.

  3. Dyspeptic Skeptic on February 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Sanity prevails!

  4. Ryan on February 4, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    SCOTUS has a split right now on right to carry and has chosen not to hear any of these cases. A split doesn’t guarantee SCOTUS will take up the case on appeal. Plus, SCOTUS is comfortable saying that everyone can own a gun, maybe not so comfortable with everyone owning scary looking guns. This is far from a slam dunk.

    • anon on February 5, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Its still a win-win…sort of. If the Supreme court upholds it, it is a win for liberty. I really do not expect them to let this stand, the implications for striking down gun control laws across the country is, as Donald would say, “Yuge”. If the Supreme court nullifies it, the court furthers the case that it is no longer a credible institution. People are waking up to the fact that all three branches of our government are deeply corrupted, and when trust in the Supreme court goes, that may be the last straw.

  5. Bill1 on February 5, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    If this ruling stands can it be applied to Illinois in some way to over turn the Bans at the city level?

  6. Jackie on February 5, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Wow. Ken. I. Uh. Well. Do. You. What iam tryin to say
    Is uh well. Take it ezy. Like don’t get so upset. Like lighten up. Man he’s doin his best and yea. I think. One helluva job. I for one. Am not perfect nor do I expect other to
    Be ..–..

    • Ken on February 5, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      I don’t know. Top post right at the moment he doubles down on STUPID.

      I love JB’s work, usually, though I may disagree with him fundamentally on the “right” of cops to murder citizens willy-nilly.

      BUt this is a HORRIBLE job. And so’s the top post.

      I’m not perfect either (what’s that, honey? Oh, I am? Cool!), but when I’ve had ERROR pointed out to me I try to rethink it and/or correct it.

      And if JB is indeed getting his news from the puffington host, then shame on HIM for allowing THEM to make HIM look the idiot.

      • GSL1598 DLM on February 7, 2016 at 11:02 am

        Keep blatherin’ ken, it really shows your own arrogance and idiocy.

      • Ken on February 7, 2016 at 2:55 pm

        Wait, who’s arrogant? Who’s an idiot?

        I pointed the error of editor’s way, what, THREE (3) days ago and this embarrassing post is still up. WORSE, there’s ANOTHER idiot post made AFTER I and the other fellow corrected him.

        Arrogant? I’d say it’s the feller running the site who thinks he knows what he’s talkin’ bout when he clearly do not!

        And IDIOCY? Sorry, that’d be you, son.

        THere’s one thing about being a journalist; you’re not above criticism. And when you publish something for tens of thousands to read, you damned sure better get it right.

        AND, when you’ve gotten it WRONG, you sure as heck don’t double down on “idiocy” and publish YET ANOTHER STORY that is factually WRONG on almost every point of interest.

        Oh, wait, I forgot! This is just a circle jerk of UNTHINKING 2A guys! This isn’t an intelligent community!

        See ya!