Fourth Circuit’s Anti-Second Amendment Ruling
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has upheld Maryland’s ban on what it calls assault-style weapons – which in essence are any semi-automatic rifles containing certain features shared with firearms used by the military. As the dissent in that ruling pointed out, the standards used to justify the ban on so-called assault weapons could be used to designate nearly any semi-automatic rifle or handgun a “military weapon,” and thus subject to a similar ban.
“Our ruling on Second Amendment protection is limited and clear: Because the FSA-banned assault weapons and large capacity magazines are like M16s, in that they are most useful in military service, they are not protected by the Second Amendment,” wrote Judge Robert B. King on behalf of the 10-4 majority.
Commentator Brandon Morse observed that “The court stated that 81 weapons, as well as semi-automatics that use detachable magazines, and can sport two or more features such as a flash suppressor, or a folding stock as ‘dangerous and unusual’ and being ‘exceptionally lethal weapons of war’” – a claim rooted more in anti-gun hysteria than in constitutional history. At the time the Second Amendment was written and ratified, its Framers were well aware of the fact that colonial militiamen of the time had access to the same weaponry used by the regular army.
“Apparently the majority of Justices in the 4th Circuit either don’t know the history of the militias in the Revolutionary War or they are choosing to ignore it,” comments analyst Joel Skousen. “ Militiamen used their own personal rifles for military purposes. How then can the Second Amendment, which makes direct reference to militias not include military weapons? How is that `unusual’ given the history of the amendment?”