The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Maryland military-style gun ban as well as large-capacity magazines, stating that these arms “are not protected by the Second Amendment.” The ruling currently applies only to the Fourth Circuit states Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. It is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court was split 9-4 in this ruling, which may be broad enough to be irresistible to Supreme Court justices, of whom only four have to agree to hear the case.
Maryland Military-Style Gun Ban
The Supreme Court is currently split evenly between conservatives and liberals until the slot left vacant after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death is filled. Hearings on President Donald Trump’s nominee for the position, the conservative-leaning Neil Gorsuch, are expected to begin on March 20. Until Gorsuch is confirmed, the Supreme Court is likely to be split evenly on controversial cases like this.
Should Military-Style Guns Be Banned?
Technology has advanced since the Second Amendment was written. In the 18th and 19th centuries, American citizens relied on their guns to hunt and defend themselves, and could easily bring their hunting guns along with them when they joined the U.S. Army during wartime. Thus, hunting rifles and military rifles were pretty much the same thing.
The framers of the Second Amendment would not have considered taking the “military-style guns” of the time away from the population because they understood the importance of those guns for individual self-defense. Anyway, in a crisis, enlisted soldiers could be trained in less time if they already had enough experience with guns to avoid shooting their own eyes out. Would they have hesitated if they had known about future gun models like AK-47s or about high-capacity magazines with more than the ten rounds allowed by Maryland law? Or would they have insisted that the exact model of gun and magazine capacity does not matter as much as the intention of the one holding the gun?
Most likely, they would say that personal responsibility matters. As we’ve seen with last December’s terrorist attack in Berlin, which killed 12 people and wounded 48, it’s as easy to commit mass murder with a truck as it is with a high-capacity machine gun. The fact that the valid driver of the truck was found dead indicates that it was a well-planned attack that did not require a “military style” gun.
However, many liberals do not wish to discuss attacks like this for a variety of reasons, including the fact that a gun was not involved. Liberals will not discuss murders accomplished by a weapon other than a gun, such as a knife or baseball bat, because it does not fit their narrative that certain types of guns must be banned. For this reason, liberals may be backing themselves into the trap that is public perception. If they are unwilling to discuss murders and fatal accidents that involved something other than a gun, does that mean that they think those deaths matter less than deaths caused by gunshot?
Neither will they discuss the 60% of gun deaths that are suicides in any detail. These were people who chose to take their own lives and did not choose to kill somebody else with a gun. These were not accidents and they weren’t cases where a child got hold of a gun because his parents were careless about storing it. Therefore, liberals do their best to lump that in with total gun deaths so that it fits their narrative better.
Neither are they willing to discuss the topic of intent. “Attempted Murder” is considered a serious charge and prosecutors must prove that the accused intended to kill someone. This can be tricky in cases where defendants can generate doubt by making it out to be an accident. In many cases, the murder weapon only matters as a piece of evidence that must be handled appropriately by investigators to be considered acceptable in court. Fingerprints found on the weapon matter as much as whether it was a gun or a knife, if not more so. Why should it matter, then, whether the gun was a six-shooter or an AK-47? Why should the exact murder weapon matter more than the intent of the murderer?
Will The Maryland Military-Style Gun Ban Case Be Struck Down, Though?
There’s no such thing as a sure thing in the judicial system, but if Gorsuch is confirmed before the case actually goes in front of the Supreme Court, there’s a good chance that there could be a 5-4 vote in favor of striking down the Maryland law banning military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. If the Supreme Court decides to hear it – and, remember, it would require positive votes from four justices – it will have to wait its turn alongside other cases in the Supreme Court’s docket.
It’s fair to say that the Founding Fathers did not envision AK-47s, but neither did they add a list of gun models that were acceptable for civilians to own to the Second Amendment. A strict view of the Second Amendment would mean that the Maryland law is unconstitutional.
Do you agree or disagree with the Maryland Military-Style Gun Ban? Let us know in the comment section below.