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Aug 14 2014

Federal Judge Rules AR-15, AK-47 Not Protected Under 2nd Amendment

assault weapon

In yet another blow to Maryland gun owners, a federal judge has ruled that AR-15s, AK-47s, and other “assault weapons” are not protected under the Second Amendment. In a 47 page opinion by U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake, the rifles are labeled “unusual and dangerous.” This is not only untrue, but somehow marks them as falling outside the purview of the right to bear arms, even those these same rifles were regulated in Maryland just last year.

The decision upholds the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which legislators passed in response to the Sandy Hook shooting. Part of that legislation includes an assault weapons ban, limits on magazine capacity (10 rounds as opposed to 20 or more), a list of banned firearms, and a new licensing requirement for all handgun purchases. The law also threatens confiscation of all banned firearms.

The case, Kolbe et al v. O’Malley et al, was filed by several gun clubs in response to the legislation. Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association, Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), among others, argued that the law banned many popular firearms that were used in self defense. The state argued that the law only targets firearms used in “mass shootings,” and therefore should not effect the average, law-abiding gun owner.

Blake agreed, stating that – according to law enforcement – no one has ever used a so-called assault rifle or more than 10 rounds for self defense. Ever. In reality, the plaintiffs offered a case in which a Baltimore man fired over 10 rounds in self defense, but the judge dismissed it, stating that because the attackers fled the scene, it didn’t count.

In fact, Blake argued that “the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self defense.” That supposed “fact” is, in her mind, is what excludes AR-15s, AK-47, and similar rifles from the Second Amendment. She also argued that possession of assault rifles is remarkably uncommon, stating that “less than 1%” of the entire U.S. population actually owns anything that could be considered a “military-style assault weapon.”

The cherry on the cake, and perhaps Blake’s most misguided assertion (emphasis added): “Finally, despite the plaintiffs’ claims that they would like to use assault weapons for defensive purposes, assault weapons are military-style weapons designed for offensive use, and are equally, or possibly even more effective, in functioning and killing capacity as their fully automatic versions.

Not only is Blake completely ignorant of the facts of gun ownership, she also seems to lack any understanding of the Second Amendment. To state that it applies to self defense, and nothing more, is a gross misinterpretation of the text and the spirit behind it. Furthermore, gun ownership, self defense, and protection from tyranny is a human right, not just a constitutional one. The Second Amendment does not create the right to bear arms; it merely recognizes it.

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