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Court Ruling Casts Immense Doubt on Maryland Assault Weapons Ban

The Maryland Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 was called into question by the U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday.

Last Thursday, anti-gun legislation heralded by former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley had its legality called into question by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit Court ruled 2-1 in favor of Kolbe v. Maryland against the ban deciding semi-automatic firearms described as assault weapons are "are in common use by law-abiding citizens," reports the Baltimore Sun.

Effective October 1, 2013, the Maryland Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, or SB0516, forbids 45 types of so-called semi-automatic assault weapons boasting high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. It was introduced and passed in response to the horrific Sandy Hook massacre that took place on December 14, 2012. SB0516 is described as the following:

Designating specified firearms as assault weapons; prohibiting with specified exceptions a person from transporting an assault weapon into the State or possessing, selling, offering to sell, transferring, purchasing, or receiving an assault weapon; requiring the Handgun Roster Board to compile and maintain a roster of prohibited assault weapons; etc.

One panelist--Chief Judge William B. Traxler Jr., writing for the majority--determined the Maryland law "significantly burdens the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home."

In response to this ruling, the National Rifle Association issued a statement applauding the decision.

"The Fourth Circuit's ruling is an important victory for the Second Amendment.  Maryland's ban on commonly owned firearms and magazines clearly violates our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.  The highest level of judicial scrutiny should apply when governments try to restrict our Second Amendment freedoms," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA.

Although the gun control law was sent to the lower courts, the assault weapons ban still remains in place.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) once opposed the law but has now accepted it as the law of the land, according to the Washington Post. His office has since declined to comment on the ruling.

This ruling should be celebrated as a victory for gun rights. While it doesn't undue this burdensome invasive law, hopefully gun owners in the Old Line State will have their rights to own semi-automatic firearms like AR-15s restored soon.

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Court Ruling Casts Immense Doubt on Maryland Assault Weapons Ban