Well, for pro-Second Amendment supporters and gun owners the Supreme Court has once again fallen short. The gun rights movement has scored a slew of landmark rulings on Second Amendment rights, but alas—you can’t win them all. The Court refused to hear arguments on Maryland’s assault weapons ban—and the media was, well, in usual form reporting on it. The Supreme Court has refused to hear any further legal challenges on overtly stringent and possibly unconstitutional gun control laws from predominantly blue states since 2010 (via Reuters) [emphasis mine]:
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a setback on Monday to gun rights proponents including the National Rifle Association, refusing to hear a challenge to Maryland’s 2013 state ban on assault weapons enacted after a Connecticut school massacre.
The justices, who have avoided major gun cases for seven years, sidestepped the roiling national debate over the availability of military-style guns to the public.
The case focused on weapons that have become a recurring feature in U.S. mass shootings including the Nov. 5 attack at a Texas church that killed 26 people, the Oct. 1 attack at a Las Vegas concert that killed 58 people, and the 2012 massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which prompted Maryland’s law.
Assault weapons are popular among gun enthusiasts.
Maryland’s ban outlaws “assault long guns,” mostly semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 and AK-47, as well as large-capacity magazines, which prevent the need for frequent reloading.
“The sands are always shifting with the Supreme Court,” Democratic Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said. “I hope that this means they have reached a conclusion that they are not going to fiddle with assault weapons bans across the country.”
First, there is no such thing as an assault weapon. What we have here is a bunch of liberals who think a certain rifle looks scary, so they banned it. Period. Shotguns and rifles are rarely used in gun crimes, despite all the noise the Left makes about mass shootings, which are also rare. The 1994 ban also did next to nothing to reduce gun violence.
Second, I’m not one to dabble in the SCOTUS prediction game because more times than not these prognostications are wrong, but Justice Kennedy sided with the conservative wing in Heller v. D.C., which stated the right to gun ownership was an individual right unconnected to service in militia in 2008. This only applied to federal enclaves. It was expanded to the states in 2010 in McDonald v. Chicago, in which Kennedy again sided with the Alito-Scalia wing. I think it’s safe to say that the 5-4 split would maintain. Yet, if I had to pick a fight to roll back assault weapons bans or push to expand concealed carry rights, I'd choose the latter. It would be a more expansive win as well.
Some states (usually red) have laws where if you file the proper paperwork, take the required classes, and pass a background check, by law—the state must issue a CCW permit. Other states (blue) have a justifiable need provision (i.e. documented death threats) in order to obtain a concealed carry permit. The process for denying an American’s right to self-protection is arbitrary. Fox Business’s John Stossel documented his tortuous journey to obtain a gun permit in deep-blue New York. Ideally, I wish every state were constitutional carry, in which you don’t need a permit to carry a firearm; 13 states have such laws, Vermont being one of them.
The right to carry a concealed firearm is now recognized in all 50 states, including Washington D.C. Yet, some states don’t share reciprocity with others. SCOTUS has also exhibited the same hesitation to hear arguments about these provisions as well. Still, I’d rather win a broad legal victory striking down absurd obstacles within some states’ concealed carry codes and leave smashing assault weapons bans for the second bout.