Upon review of all the parties’ evidence, the court seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self-defense in the home, which is at the core of the Second Amendment right, and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual.
First, the court is not persuaded that assault weapons are commonly possessed based on the absolute number of those weapons owned by the public. Even accepting that there are 8.2 million assault weapons in the civilian gun stock, as the plaintiffs claim, assault weapons represent no more than 3% of the current civilian gun stock, and ownership of those weapons is highly concentrated in less than 1% of the U.S. population.
The court is also not persuaded by the plaintiffs’ claims that assault weapons are used infrequently in mass shootings and murders of law enforcement officers. The available statistics indicate that assault weapons are used disproportionately to their ownership in the general public and, furthermore, cause more injuries and more fatalities when they are used.
As for their claims that assault weapons are well-suited for self-defense, the plaintiffs proffer no evidence beyond their desire to possess assault weapons for self-defense in the home that they are in fact commonly used, or possessed, for that purpose.
Finally, despite the plaintiffs’ claims that they would like to use assault weapons for defensive purposes, assault weapons are military-style weapons designed for offensive use, and are equally, or possibly even more effective, in functioning and killing capacity as their fully automatic versions.
So what’s the problem? She is not even adhering to the Constitution nor the Second Amendment, nor to the Maryland Constitution for that matter.
First, let’s look at her words. She uses the term “assault weapons.” AR and AK style rifles sold to the general public are not “assault weapons.” They are semi-automatic weapons, just like most handguns that are produced today. In other words, one pull of the trigger fires one bullet and then another bullet is loaded automatically and ready to fire.
Second, she claims that statistics “indicate that assault weapons are used disproportionately to their ownership in the general public and, furthermore, cause more injuries and more fatalities when they are used.”
This is patently false. As I have previously pointed out, the AR and AK style weapons are categorized as rifles. Take a look at the statistics from the FBI’s 2011 report concerning rifles versus handguns used to commit murder.
Handguns were used in 5,220 murders in the US. Rifles were used in only 323 murders.
Consider if this judge followed her own logic. The next thing up for grabs would be handguns, right? Right.
But this isn’t the issue. The issue is that the right of the people to keep and bear arms, per the Second Amendment, “shall not be infringed.”
Constitution signer John Dickinson, affirming the unalienable rights of the people, said the right to bear arms (with no specificity) was a right “which God gave to you and which no inferior power has a right to take away.”
While many in our day seek to say the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to individual citizens, but only those who are a part of the militia, Patrick Henry expressed something completely different when he said,
“The great objective is that every man be armed.” -Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson echoes this sentiment:
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms, disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” -quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and punishment (1764)
He also wrote:
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” -Proposed Virginia Constitution (1776).
The Bill of Rights was written to expressly declare certain rights were off limit to the government having a say so in the matter of restricting or banning the people from those rights, which are given to us by God.
Also, consider that the Maryland Constitution’s Declaration of Rights asserts the following:
Art. 2. The Constitution of the United States, and the Laws made, or which shall be made, in pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, are, and shall be the Supreme Law of the State; and the Judges of this State, and all the People of this State, are, and shall be bound thereby; anything in the Constitution or Law of this State to the contrary notwithstanding.
Oh really? It seems that the people are not holding their elected officials and judges to this standard as they have allowed them to pass unlawful “laws” that seek to strip them of their rights and make criminals of the common man.
Finally, the judge says that these are “military-style weapons.” While they do have an appearance of a military weapon, they are not military weapons. This could be easily demonstrated if they were compared side-by-side, but that doesn’t matter. The issue is that the American people, under the Second Amendment, should be allowed to have the very same weapons like those of our military. There are no restrictions of arms, and yes, that includes tanks my friends.
She claims that these weapons were “designed for offensive use.” That may or may not be true, but again, it’s an irrelevant argument. I might add that this judge’s entire ruling seems more of an emotional response, then a legal ruling.
I would remind the judge not only of her oath as a judge, but also that there is a very real need by the citizens of Maryland to have these weapons. In fact, all one has to do is mention the 1992 LA Riots and the case should be made, but I think a simply appeal to “…the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is all that is needed.
Finally, founding father Samuel Adams declared:
“The Constitution shall never be construed. . .to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” -Massachusetts’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788).
Don’t look now Sam, but it’s being construed.
What will you do people of the “Free State?” Will you just sit back and let a tyrannical government violate the law by restricting your rights or will you stand up and play the man? The choice is before you today. What will you do?
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost.