A federal appeals court challenged the legality of Maryland’s assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban on Thursday, saying the law infringes on the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling, ordered the original district judge to use stricter constitutional standards in reconsidering an earlier decision that upheld the ban.
“In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment,” Chief Judge William B. Traxler Jr. wrote in the majority opinion. He added that the law “significantly burdens the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home.”
Maryland’s ban was enacted in 2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. It prohibits the sale or ownership of 45 types of military-style rifles, and of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Proponents of the law, including Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, said most mass violence incidents have involved military-style weaponry and high-capacity magazines, and such weapons are not necessary for self-defense.
“There is sound reason to conclude that the Second Amendment affords no protection whatsoever to the assault rifles and shotguns, copycat weapons and large-capacity detachable magazines that are banned by the state of Maryland,” said Mr. Frosh, who was a state senator and a driving force behind enactment of the law in 2013.
U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake in Baltimore upheld the ban in 2014, ruling that the law promotes public safety without trampling on core constitutional rights. She used a standard known as “intermediate scrutiny,” which tests whether a law furthers an important government interest in a way that is substantially related to that interest.
Read more: Washington Times