Supreme Court Declines Cert In 4th Circuit Gun Case, So… Let’s Get To Regulating! (Above the Law)

Supreme Court Declines Cert In 4th Circuit Gun Case, So… Let’s Get To Regulating!

America. (Photo Courtesy of Getty)

Last February, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals made a major gun regulation decision. Using the logic of D.C. v. Heller, the 4th Circuit determined that 45 different kind of assault rifles and high capacity magazines were NOT protected by the Second Amendment. The 4th Circuit explicitly used Heller‘s reasoning that “weapons that are most useful in military service” were not protected by the Second Amendment.

The decision didn’t get nearly enough attention at the time, because Donald Trump just won and Neil Gorsuch was headed to assume his stolen seat on the Supreme Court. The prospects for meaningful gun regulation felt low when 60 million people voted for a misogynist bigot who jokes about shooting people on Fifth Avenue.

But yesterday, the Supreme Court declined to review the case. From the Washington Post:

The justices in the past have passed up the chance to hear challenges to similar laws in a handful of other states. But attorneys general in 21 states had asked the court to hear the Maryland case, and the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups had joined the effort.

People who think dying in mass shootings is an acceptable price to pay for “freedom” are pissy. From the Federalist:

Today the Supreme Court let stand the Fourth Circuit’s holding in Kolbe v. Hogan that semi-automatic rifles are not constitutionally protected “arms,” and in doing so declared the Second Amendment guarantees only a second-class right.

Somebody get Senator Chris Murphy on the phone. This is big news.

I am shocked that the Court does not have four votes to shoot holes at the 4th Circuit. Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, and presumably Neil Gorsuch are locks to think that the Constitution requires letting every American roll around in a tank to protect themselves from Black Lives Matter.

But John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy? They both voted with Antonin Scalia in Heller, finding for the first time a right for gun ownership for self-defense. Could it be that these two conservative justices tacitly agree with the 4th Circuit’s interpretation of the Scalia’s opinion? Could it be that they disagree but don’t want to be seen as preventing us from having gun safety regulation while the country is dealing with the aftermath of another mass shooting? (No matter when SCOTUS hears such a case, it will be in the aftermath of another mass shooting, because we have mass shootings in this country at a regular and terrifying pace.)

I can’t get inside their heads, but for now, it doesn’t matter. States where politicians have the will should get to regulating! The Fourth Circuit says that, even under Heller, you can regulate weapons of war. LET’S DO THAT. If the courts won’t stand in the way, all you have to do is overcome freaking crazy people who think you need an assault rifle to shoot ducks and intimidate counter-protesters at their Nazi rallies.

Supreme Court won’t review Maryland’s law banning sales of ‘assault weapons’ [Washington Post]

Elie Mystal is the Executive Editor of Above the Law and the Legal Editor for More Perfect. He can be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at He will resist.



via Above the Law

November 29, 2017 at 09:34AM