When liberal statists lose elections, they run to the Federal courts and find black-robed tyrants to rewrite the Bill of Rights itself. For their latest draconian abuse of judicial authority—in case you missed the NBC News headline, “Assault Weapons Not Protected by Second Amendment, Federal Appeals Court Rules,” and similar sobering headlines impacting law-abiding gun owners this week—here’s the scoop.
Maryland's ban on 45 different semi-automatic firearms and mandate for a 10-round limit on firearm magazines was upheld Tuesday by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In Kolbe v. Hogan, nine of the court's 14 judges ruled that America’s most popular types of rifles—banned in the state of Maryland—have no Second Amendment protection.
In its 9-5 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.—which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and North and South Carolina—said the guns banned under Maryland's law are not protected by the Second Amendment. "Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war," Judge Robert King wrote for the court, using obtuse verbiage from the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller to claim the Supreme Court’s ruling explicitly excluded such coverage.
From the front lines, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) reported, “The Court called the banned firearms—which include AR-15s and most magazine-fed semi-automatic rifles—‘exceptionally lethal weapons of war.’ It compared them to the M16, claiming them to be categorically unprotected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Heller. The Court called the difference between a machine gun and a semi-automatic ‘slight’ despite the substantial differences in function and form—so much so that Federal law regulates each in highly dissimilar ways.” Fortunately, the NRA, on behalf of a free people, will continue to vindicate the rights of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear the best firearms available to protect themselves and their loved ones. “As we’ve been there every step of the way in the Kolbe fight, states NRA-ILA, “we will continue to press forward—including appealing the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Translation for American gun owners: Anyone who uses a semi-automatic rifle for hunting, shooting sports or self-defense can be subject to harassment by overzealous government bureaucrats and law enforcement agencies. In going to the logical extreme, gun owners may be arrested, jailed, tried and imprisoned—all because some people in black robes—protected by armed security—believed the Bill of Rights was inconvenient to their political agendas. The decision marks, yet again, the scorn and loathing many judges have for our right to keep and bear arms.
An AR-style semi-automatic rifle is no more what anti-hunters and anti-gunners call an “assault rifle” or “weapon of war” any more than a spoon is a fork! An actual assault rifle is capable of full automatic fire. Your average AR, AK and other military rifle look-alikes are semi-automatic firearms—not machine guns—under Federal law. Yet the courts have granted themselves the power to change the meaning of words in the English language.
As Charles C.W. Cook of the National Review explains, freed up by the Supreme Court’s ongoing reluctance to engage in depth with the Second Amendment, the Fourth Circuit has taken it upon itself to rewrite Heller en banc … . The court upheld Maryland’s ban on both ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high capacity magazines.’ By so doing, it deprived the people of Maryland, the Carolinas and the Virginias of the core protections to which the Constitution entitles them.
“As Judge Traxler’s dissent pointedly establishes, the majority achieved this transformation by contriving a heretofore unknown ‘test,’ which is whether the firearm in question is ‘most useful in military service.’” In effect, this “test” is designed to permit judges to determine that any weapon they might dislike is unprotected by the Second Amendment and can, therefore, be prohibited with impunity. Forget that Heller contains its own explicit tests. Forget the “common use” standard. Forget “dangerous and unusual.” There’s a new kid in town, and he’s coming for your rifles.
The ruling may be the most anti-gun ruling from any court in the modern era, persecuting law-abiding gun owners and focusing on an inanimate object instead of human behavior to guide the law. After all, the American Republic has “coequal” branches of government. But as Ken Starr noted in his book, the Judiciary is now "first among equals?" The Judiciary's function is to interpret law, not to make it. That is for the House and Senate to do.
Editor’s Note: Author Twelve Bravo is a Vietnam-era veteran who says, “I love God and my country and American freedom—the same freedom that so many take for granted. For me, it all begins with the Second Amendment and the right to protect myself and my family, to shoot and collect firearms, and to hunt—and to share my knowledge and pass on America’s firearms traditions with anyone who will listen.” To read his NRAHLF.ORG article, “A Soldier’s Thoughts on Veterans Day” posted on Nov. 11, 2016, click here.