A ruling in a major gun rights case in federal circuit court could mean that the Second Amendment rights of firearm owners in the Virginias, the Carolinas and Maryland may be infringed — by judicial fiat.
According to Reuters, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — which covers Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina — ruled this week that Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which bans “assault rifles” and “high-capacity magazines,” was constitutional.
That was worrying enough, but the rationale given in the ruling should be even more worrying to gun owners.
“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war,” Judge Robert King wrote in his ruling.
This is problematic, and not only because virtually every firearm mass-produced in the past 100 years is potentially effective as a “weapon of war.”
District of Columbia v. Heller, the most prominent recent Supreme Court case on gun control, established a test that essentially states Second Amendment rights are extended to firearms “in common use at the time for lawful purposes like self-defense.” As National Review’s C.W. Cook writes, the 4th Circuit seems to have ignored that decision.
In a column headlined “The 4th Circuit Runs Roughshod Over Heller and the Second Amendment,” C.W. Cook pointed out that the 4th Circuit made up an entirely different test when it comes to which firearms can be banned.
“As Judge Traxler’s dissent pointedly establishes, the majority achieved this transformation by contriving ‘a heretofore unknown ‘test,’ which is whether the firearm in question is ‘most useful in military service,’” Cook wrote.
“In effect, this ‘test’ is designed to permit judges to determine that any weapon they might dislike is unprotected by the Second Amendment and can therefore be prohibited with impunity. Forget that Heller contains its own explicit tests. Forget the ‘common use’ standard. Forget ‘dangerous and unusual.’ There’s a new kid in town, and he’s coming for your rifles.”
It’s not hard to see the slippery slope the ruling could put gun owners in those five states on. Thankfully, the case seems likely to go to the Supreme Court, which could end up clarifying (and hopefully, overturning) this ridiculous test.
Until then, though, gun owners in these five states need to beware.
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H/T Hot Air