Clearly Biased Federal Appeals Court Considers Maryland’s Assault Weapon Ban

In a pivotal session that has sparked considerable debate across the nation, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, Virginia, recently conducted oral arguments in a case challenging Maryland’s so-called assault weapon ban. The case, drawing attention from Second Amendment advocates and gun control proponents alike, underscores the ongoing legal battles over firearm regulations in the United States.

Mark Smith, a constitutional attorney, Supreme Court Bar member, staunch Second Amendment supporter, and Ammoland News contributor, provided a comprehensive analysis of the proceedings, expressing grave concerns over the court’s handling of the case. According to Smith, the majority of the judges displayed a dismissive attitude towards the Second Amendment rights, focusing more on political grandstanding than the legal intricacies of the case.

The case in question revolves around Maryland’s ban on semi-automatic firearms, misleadingly referred to as “assault weapons,” including America’s most popular weapon, the AR-15 rifle. Critics of the ban correctly argue that it infringes upon the constitutional rights of American citizens under the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms. Proponents of Freedom, however, maintain that such regulations are “necessary for public safety” and “do not” violate constitutional principles.

During the oral arguments, Smith noted that the judges seemed predisposed against the Second Amendment claims, often resorting to what he described as “absurd” hypotheticals and showing a lack of understanding of the firearms in question. One judge erroneously claimed that an AR-15 could fire 300 rounds per minute, a statement that was quickly corrected by a Second Amendment attorney present at the hearing.

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The central legal contention revolves around whether semi-automatic firearms like the AR-15 are “in common use” and therefore protected under the Second Amendment. This debate stems from previous Supreme Court decisions, including the landmark Heller case, which established that firearms “in common use” cannot be categorically banned.

Smith predicts that the Fourth Circuit will likely rule against the Second Amendment advocates, either by upholding Maryland’s ban directly or remanding the case for further litigation.

Such a decision, he argues, would pave the way for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Second Amendment supporters hope for a more favorable outcome.

The oral arguments also touched upon broader issues of self-defense and the historical context of firearm regulations. Maryland’s attorney argued for the preservation of the ban, suggesting that handguns, rather than rifles, are more suitable for home defense—a stance that has evolved since the Supreme Court’s Heller decision.

This case highlights the deeply entrenched divisions over gun control in the United States and the legal challenges that lie ahead in reconciling public safety concerns with constitutional freedoms. As the Fourth Circuit prepares to make its decision, all eyes are on how this case might influence the ongoing national debate over the Second Amendment and gun regulations in America.

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