Monday, November 27, 2017

Ban on Assault Weapons/Open Carry Left Intact by U.S. Supreme Court

“The U.S. Supreme Court steered clear of the intensifying gun debate after the mass shootings in Nevada and Texas, turning away two appeals from firearms advocates, including one that sought a constitutional right to own a semiautomatic assault rifle. The justices, without comment Monday, left intact a ruling that upheld Maryland’s ban on assault weapons. In a separate case, the high court refused to require Florida to let handguns be carried openly in public.
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly rebuffed gun advocates since it ruled in 2010 that people across the country have the right to keep a firearm in the home for self-defense. That case represents the last time the high court heard arguments on the reach of the Second Amendment. Opponents say easy access to guns is to blame for continued mass shootings in the U.S., including the Oct. 1 massacre of 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas and the slaughter just a month later of 26 people in a Texas church.
“In the Maryland case, a federal appeals court said assault weapons, including the popular AR-15, aren’t protected by the Second Amendment. The appeals court pointed to the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision, which included a line suggesting that states and cities could ban the M-16 rifle, a military version of the AR-15. ‘We have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage,’ Judge Robert King wrote for the majority.
“The appeals court voted 10-4 to uphold the ban. Maryland enacted its assault-weapon ban after the 2012 shooting that left 20 children and six educators dead at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The measure also bans detachable magazines that have a capacity of more than 10 rounds…” (U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Assault Rifle, Open-Carry Appeals). 


  1. In the court case alluded to in the article, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the federal appeals court ruled that the District of Columbia law prohibiting handguns violated the individual’s right to possess firearms under the 2nd amendment. The Supreme Court granted certiorari (a writ issued by a higher court to obtain records on a case from a lower court so that the case can be reviewed), nevertheless.

  2. Laws and their restrictions will never apply to deranged criminals. Moreover, the fact that there are an estimated 300 million firearms already in circulation make it impossible for gun control laws to have any effect on reducing violent crimes. Because gun control laws also prohibit peoples’ self-reliance and self-defense, they can also cost the lives of more innocent victims.

    I agree with background checks for anyone purchasing a weapon, especially at gun shows and private sales; I agree with banning high-capacity magazines and modifications on semi-automatic weapons; I agree with banning semi-automatic and fully automatic assault rifles; I agree with banning anyone from owning a weapon on no-fly or watch lists; I agree with legislation that will mandate prohibitions on concealed weapons and possession of firearms by the mentally-ill and people convicted of violent crimes, but I do not agree with legislation that will affect responsible law-abiding citizens.

    Instead of more gun control laws and worrying about responsible citizens who own self-defense weapons for protection and may conceal and carry those weapons, legislators should focus upon and address the causes of violent crimes: racism, economic injustice, poverty, unemployment, gang activity, drug trafficking, inefficient law enforcement in high-crime areas, and mental illness.

    Instead of more gun control laws and worrying about responsible citizens who own self-defense weapons and may conceal and carry them, let’s pursue a policy goal that shifts “the distribution of gun possession as far as possible in the direction of likely aggressors being disarmed [e.g. those people who are on social media espousing hatred and violence], with as few prospective victims as possible being disarmed. To disarm non-criminals [through more gun control laws] in the hope that this might indirectly help reduce access to guns among criminals is a very high-stakes gamble, and the risks will not be reduced by pretending that crime victims rarely use guns for self-defense” (Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control).