Supreme Court refuses to take up Maryland's assault weapons ban

Supreme Court refuses to take up Maryland's assault weapons ban
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The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal from gun owners and dealers in Maryland challenging the state’s ban on military-style rifles and detachable magazines.

The Maryland General Assembly enacted the ban in 2013 after a gunman killed 20 children and 6 adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld the ban. That court said the weapons are excluded from Second Amendment protections because they are the kind of weapons most often used by the military. 

“Put simply, 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 in the majority opinion, citing a landmark Supreme Court case from 2008.

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.

The justices did not provide any explanation for denying a review of the case.