21 Attorney Generals, 34 law enforcement groups, the NRA, and others filed briefs on Friday to overturn a Maryland assault weapon ban
A massive coalition of 21 state attorney generals, 34 law enforcement and gun rights groups, the NRA, and others filed briefs on Friday asking the Supreme Court to overturn a Maryland assault weapon ban.
The attorney generals, law enforcement, and gun rights groups were joined by the National Rifle Association of America Inc, the Cato Institute, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, and The Independence Institute, who filed supporting briefs. Additional supporting briefs were also filed, or are pending, and the Court has granted an extension of time to file in the case.
Kolbe v. Hogan: repercussions will be felt throughout “the entire country”
At issue is the case of Kolbe v. Hogan, and a Maryland gun law that restricts certain rifle features and limits magazines to 10-rounds of ammunition, a collection of restrictions commonly referred to as an “assault weapons ban”. A lower court decision in the case affirming Maryland’s state law was upheld by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, prompting the appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
“Banning certain types of firearms steps on the Second Amendment… Law abiding gun owners routinely use these firearms for self-defense or sporting. Such an unconstitutional act cannot stand.” – West Virginia attorney general Patrick Morrisey
The attorney generals, law enforcement groups, and supporting groups believe Maryland’s gun ban is unconstitutional. They are asking the Supreme Court to overturn the state law. If overturned by the Supreme Court, the case would serve as a warning to other states seeking to impose similar bans on so-called ‘assault weapons’.
West Virginia attorney general Patrick Morrisey released a statement about the attorney general’s joint brief, “Banning certain types of firearms steps on the Second Amendment,” adding, “Law abiding gun owners routinely use these firearms for self-defense or sporting. Such an unconstitutional act cannot stand.”
Morrissey also noted the repercussions this case will have for the entire country, “This coalition’s effort is really important because we have to protect Second Amendment rights.” Morrissey also expressed his hopes for the outcome of this case, “I hope that the Supreme Court hears this case so there are not undue restrictions on peoples’ right to enjoy the Second Amendment. This matters not only for West Virginia, it matters for the entire country.”
“Lower courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment for too long” – Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association said the 4th Circuit’s February ruling upholding the state ban was an example of a lower courts flouting the Supreme Court’s “Heller” decision that protects commonly-used firearms.
Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement, “Lower courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment for too long, and the Kolbe decision crossed yet another line.” Cox added, “The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The popular rifles and standard magazines banned in Maryland are some of the best tools for self-defense. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will reverse this egregious decision. Maryland’s ban on commonly owned rifles and magazines is unconstitutional.”
The Supreme Court may, or may not, hear the case
The Supreme Court has not yet agreed to hear the Kolbe v. Hogan case. Despite the growing coalition of organizations supporting the case, the Court has shown reluctance to hear firearms-related cases.
In June, the Supreme Court decided not to hear a case against California’s restrictive concealed-carry law, disappointing millions of lawful gun owners throughout the southwest, however, their decision was not unopposed. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented, arguing that the Court needed do more to protect Second Amendment rights.
Justice Thomas said in the dissent, “The Court’s decision to deny certiorari in this [the California concealed-carry] case reflects a distressing trend: the treatment of the Second Amendment as a disfavored right,” and pointing out, “The Court has not heard argument in a Second Amendment case in over seven years—since March 2, 2010, in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742. Since that time, we have heard argument in, for example, roughly 35 cases where the question presented turned on the meaning of the First Amendment and 25 cases that turned on the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.”
The decision now rests in the hands of the Supreme Court.
The 21 state attorney generals represent:
The 34 law enforcement and gun right groups include:
Western States Sheriffs’ Association
California State Sheriffs’ Association
International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association
Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund
Law Enforcement Action Network
Law Enforcement Alliance of America
International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors
Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs
Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club
California Rifle & Pistol Association Inc.
Connecticut Citizens Defense League
Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association
Gun Owners’ Action League Massachusetts
Gun Owners of California
Gun Owners of Vermont
Hawaii Rifle Association
Idaho State Rifle & Pistol Association
Illinois State Rifle Association
League of Kentucky Sportsmen
Louisiana Shooting Association
Michigan Rifle & Pistol Association
Missourians for Personal Safety
Missouri Sport Shooting Association
Montana Rifle & Pistol Association
North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association
Nevada Firearms Coalition
New Mexico Shooting Sports Association
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association
Texas State Rifle Association
Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs
Vermont State Rifle & Pistol Association
Virginia Shooting Sports Association
Western Missouri Shooters Alliance
Additional parties filing supporting briefs:
The National Rifle Association of America Inc,
The Cato Institute
Pink Pistols et all
The National Sheriffs’ Association
The Second Amendment Foundation
The Independence Institute
Second Amendment scholar and author Edwin Vieira, Jr