“It’s unthinkable that people could say that those weapons of war are protected by the Second Amendment,” Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said Tuesday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld Maryland’s ban on semiautomatic guns with certain military-style features that the state passed after the 2012 mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
The 10-to-4 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit vacates an earlier panel decision that cast doubt on the constitutionality of the ban that is similar to laws in seven states, including California, Connecticut and New Jersey.
The ruling from the Richmond-based court goes further than other appellate courts that have reviewed similar laws in stating clearly that “assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment.” The majority opinion, written by Judge Robert B. King, refers to the banned firearms as “weapons of war” that the court says are most useful in the military.
In a strongly worded dissent, Judge William B. Traxler Jr. said his colleagues have “gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.”