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Supreme Court Won’t Hear Second Amendment Infringements in Maryland

Monday, December 4, 2017 11:17
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Dean Weingarten

Arizona -( The Supreme Court refused to grant a writ of certiorari in the appeal of Maryland’s ban on certain semi-automatic rifles and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

The ban includes non-detachable magazines, but exempts rimfire firearms.  The State Police list 200 firearms manufacturers with numerous models that are banned by the law, including some of the most popular rifles in the United States.

The case is a continuation of the Supreme Court’s reluctance to enforce and clarify the court rulings in the Heller and Mcdonald cases. Four justices are required to grant a writ if certiorari.


Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013 bans the AR-15 and other military-style rifles and shotguns, often referred to as “assault weapons,” and detachable large-capacity magazines.

The petitioners, however, argued that these weapons are commonly used for self-defense in the home and should be protected by the Second Amendment.

“This Court recognized and protected the principle at the heart of the interests enshrined by the Second Amendment: The individual — and not the government — retains the right to choose from among common arms those that they believe will best protect their person, family, and home,” they wrote in briefs.

By denying the case, the court refused to step into the national debate over gun control that has been raging on Capitol Hill following a slew of mass shootings in recent months in which assault weapons were used.

Attorneys General from 21 states had asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The Maryland ban is particularly troublesome because the 4th Circuit, in upholding the ban, did so by making the claim that AR-15 rifles and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are “weapons of war” and therefore  are not protected by the Second Amendment.

This claim appears absurd on its face. In the Miller decision, one of the first Supreme Court direct Second Amendment cases, a law was upheld because only weapons of war were protected.

One of the clear purposes of the Second Amendment is listed in the present participle “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,”.  It is hard to see that “weapons of war’ would be excluded from the protections of the Second Amendment.

In the Heller decision, and in the Caetano decision, the Supreme Court explicitly said that all commonly owned arms are protected by the Second Amendment.

In 1925, after being lobbied by the Supreme Court, Congress passed a law to allow the Court to choose what cases it would accept.

This is how the Supreme Court grant writs of certiorari (effectively agreeing to hear a case).


Parties who are not satisfied with the decision of a lower court must petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case. The primary means to petition the court for review is to ask it to grant a writ of certiorari. This is a request that the Supreme Court order a lower court to send up the record of the case for review. The Court usually is not under any obligation to hear these cases, and it usually only does so if the case could have national significance, might harmonize conflicting decisions in the federal Circuit courts, and/or could have precedential value. In fact, the Court accepts 100-150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review each year. Typically, the Court hears cases that have been decided in either an appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals or the highest Court in a given state (if the state court decided a Constitutional issue).

The Supreme Court has its own set of rules. According to these rules, four of the nine Justices must vote to accept a case. Five of the nine Justices must vote in order to grant a stay, e.g., a stay of execution in a death penalty case. Under certain instances, one Justice may grant a stay pending review by the entire Court.

People are often astounded that the Supreme Court has the power to refuse to hear cases. As the nation grew, appeals to the Supreme Court proliferated.

There were far more cases than could be heard by the Court. The first attempt to solve this problem was the formation of the appeals court system in 1891. That did not solve the problem.

This case illustrates the problem of allowing the Supreme Court to decide what cases they can hear. There is a clear conflict of interest. Choosing cases to hear makes decisions about the law based on feelings, politics, and media influence, instead of evidence, the Constitution, and precidence. It gives the judicial branch far more power than it was ever designed to have.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

This post Supreme Court Won’t Hear Second Amendment Infringements in Maryland appeared first on .


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