An appeal backed by the National Rifle Association challenged Maryland’s 2013 ban on assault weapons enacted after the Newtown, Ct., school massacre.
The Supreme Court, which has avoided major gun cases for seven years, on Monday declined to hear a challenge backed by the National Rifle Association to Maryland’s 2013 ban on assault weapons enacted after a Connecticut school massacre, Reuters reports. The court rejected an appeal by Maryland residents, firearms dealers and the state NRA association, who argued that the ban violated their right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.
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 Las Vegas concert massacre that killed 58 people, and the 2012 killing of 20 schoolchildren and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., which prompted Maryland’s law. The challengers, who had sued Maryland’s governor and other officials in 2013, were appealing a ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the state’s law. Ruling 10-4, the Fourth Circuit said it had no power to extend constitutional protections to “weapons of war.” 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. Backed by the NRA, the plaintiffs said that semi-automatic rifles are in common use and that law-abiding citizens should not be deprived of them.