As it relates to the gun community, one of the most pressing issues of our time is whether banning the ownership of modern sporting rifles aka “assault weapons” (as defined by anti-gunners) aka black rifles aka semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines aka AR-15/AK-47s is constitutional?
This is GunsAmerica. So, you know where we stand on the issue. That said, we’re not the ones charged with interpreting the law as it relates to the Constitution. That prestigious job falls to the courts, and in this particular instance the Supreme Court.
Yes, thanks to several different cases, and appeals, and more cases and more appeals that have wended their way through the lower courts, to state courts, to federal circuit courts the matter has landed at the doorstep of the high court in a case concerning a ban on black rifles enacted by the city of Highland Park, Illinois.
Coincidently, just this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld previous rulings in New York and Connecticut that said that each state’s ban on black rifles was constitutional. Both Connecticut and New York expanded their respective prohibition on assault weapons in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
A three-judge panel for the 2nd Circuit concluded that the “core provisions” of the assault weapons bans “do not violate the Second Amendment” because they are “substantially related to the achievement of an important governmental interest.” That “government interest” as you may have guessed is “public safety” and “crime reduction.”
Yes, we know that reasoning is B.S. What’s more is that the courts know that it’s B.S., well, at least some of them do. In fact, and to circle back to the Highland Park case, one court openly acknowledged as much — sorta.
“If it has no other effect, Highland Park’s ordinance may increase the public’s sense of safety,” wrote Circuit Judge Frank H. Easterbrook from the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Mass shootings are rare, but they are highly salient, and people tend to overestimate the likelihood of salient events,” he continued. “If a ban on semi‐automatic guns and large‐capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit.”
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s all about the perception and feelings of the public — not facts. Fact: Black rifles are rarely used in crimes. Fact: Black rifles are rarely used in mass shootings (less than 10 percent). Fact: Mass shootings are not on the rise. Fact: Modern Sporting Rifles are in common use (around 16 million owners). Fact: AR-15s are America’s best selling rifle. Fact: Black rifles are great for self-defense within the home. Fact: The Constitution means what it says, “A well regulated militia, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
In short, these courts want to shred your right to keep and bear arms because it may make nanny-state dolts, dimwits and anti-gunners feel safe.
It’s crazy. Hopefully the high court sees through this malarkey. But there’s no guarantee. If it wants to, the Supreme Court could opt to hear the Highland Park case. We should know at some point in the very near future as to whether it will pick this case. Maybe this week. We’ll keep you posted.
If you’re curious, here is the decision on the SAFE Act released by the 2nd Circuit: