No, Judge Young, Justice Scalia Would Be Rolling in His Grave After Your AR Ban Decision

The late Antonin Scalia would not be happy with Judge Young.  (Photo: Wikipedia)

By now you’ve heard about U.S. District Judge William Young’s decision to uphold Massachusetts’ ban on the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15.

You may not know the reason why.

Judge Young stated in his decision that the “AR-15’s present day popularity is not constitutionally material” and (here’s the kicker) “Justice Scalia would be proud” of this ruling.

Let’s review.

In D.C. v. Heller, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia held that the sorts of weapons protected by the Second Amendment are those in “common use.” State militias were formed, Scalia explained, by farmers and blacksmiths and merchants who mustered with the firearms they already possessed. Here’s how he put it:

The traditional militia was formed from a pool of men bringing arms ‘in common use at the time’ for lawful purposes like self-defense. ‘In the colonial and revolutionary war era, [small-arms] weapons used by militiamen and weapons used in defense of person and home were one and the same.’ State v. Kessler, 289 Ore. 359, 368, 614 P. 2d 94, 98 (1980).

Indeed, that is precisely the way in which the Second Amendment ’s operative clause furthers the purpose announced in its preface. We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns. That accords with the historical understanding of the scope of the right.

As, once again, the most popular rifle in America, we can safely assume that Scalia would have grouped AR-15s in the category of weapons protected by an originalist understanding (AKA the correct understanding) of the Second Amendment.

This line of reasoning seems to have escaped Judge Young, who said, “The AR-15’s present-day popularity is not constitutionally material. This is because the words of our Constitution are not mutable. They mean the same today as they did 227 years ago when the Second Amendment was adopted.”

SEE ALSO: Chelsea Clinton: With Scalia Dead, Supreme Court Will Make ‘Definitive’ 2A Ruling


The NRA-ILA pointed out another instance in which Scalia cited the popularity of the AR-platform rifle as evidence for its constitutional protections.

“It is outrageous that Judge Young is taking advantage of the fact that Justice Scalia is unable to refute such a claim,” they said in a statement.

“Justice Scalia’s position on the question of whether the AR-15 is protected by the Second Amendment is clear. In the 2015 Friedman v. City of Highland Park case, Justice Scalia joined a dissent which stated that the decision by millions of Americans to own AR-style rifles for lawful purposes ‘is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.’”

Unfortunately, Judge Young’s decision falls in line with similar district court decisions upholding bans on… wait for it… the most popular rifle in America.

Overturning these rulings would require a decision by the Supreme Court, which has been frustratingly hesitant to tackle the issue.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Scott February 9, 2021, 3:00 am

    I believe that SCOTUS hasn’t taken on a major 2A case since Heller, because the conservative wing of SCOTUS didn’t want to take a chance of a ruling going sideways and doing more harm than good.

    While everyone celebrated the Heller decision, it scared the shit out of me. 5-4…that was only one vote away from the 2A being defined as a state militia right as opposed to an individual right, setting a precedent that may have even seen us disarmed by the govt by now.

    There have been many lower court rulings where the 2A is considered the red-headed stepchild of the BOR. Lower courts have disregarded the 2A in ways they NEVER would have treated something like the 1A. I think SCOTUS wants to force the lower courts to respect the 2A precedents set by Heller, but if something went wrong and it went 5-4 in the opposite direction, it would be very difficult to come back from.

    Now that we have a 6-3 court or 5-4 at worst, if Roberts votes with the libs on gun rights, I believe that they feel safe enough to actually give Heller some teeth, start forcing the lower courts to respect the 2A, and will be in a position to bury new legislation, such as the proposed HR127. IF it were to pass, there would be 2A challenges filed the same day, with the intent of floating them all the way up to SCOTUS.

    SCOTUS is our LAST chance at saving the Republic and regardless of what anyone may think of Trump, he filled the courts with originalist judges, kicking as many “activist” judges out, as possible. He also did a damned fine job with his SCOTUS appointments.

    Now, we just need a few pivotal 2A cases to get there to cement and affirm our gun rights for the next several decades.

  • Marcus Aurelius April 17, 2018, 10:22 am

    This so-called judge is irrefutable proof as to why no court can be “supreme” over the Constitution, for any man can violate the Constitution regardless of what prestigious university he may have graduated from. It also proves just how critically important our entire education system is for as we are seeing, it can be corrupted just as congress has been, filling it with ideologues who want to destroy our country, a job they have done very effectively.

    We are in deep, deep trouble and it remains to be seen whether We the People can reverse the damage in order to save & restore our Republic before it is irreversibly damaged.

  • DaveGinOly April 13, 2018, 6:44 pm

    Scalia’s interpretation is a minimalist one.

    Read the preamble to the BOR and you will see that its existence is meant as a guarantee not of the rights themselves but rather a guarantee or acknowledgement that the Constitution doesn’t authorize government to break into any of our rights (the Ninth Amendment covers all unenumerated rights) via legislative fiat. At a minimum, this protection extends to those firearms useful to a militia. However, the BOR guarantees this interpretation within the scope of a much wider range of government disabilities. The government can’t interfere with the right to arms useful to a militia because it has no general authority over firearms ownership at all. Even if the 2nd Amendment does not acknowledge the general disability of government to regulate firearms ownership, the Ninth Amendment does because it includes all unenumerated rights, including a general right to arms.

  • mike clark April 13, 2018, 11:33 am

    leaving aside all the legal mumbo jumbo, the clear intent of the 2nd amendment was for the citizens to be able to defend themselves against a tyrannical government with weapon equal to those of the tyrants forces. this means that all of these restrictions on weapons that are applied to the citizens are in fact unconstitutional. ALL of them

  • Culper April 13, 2018, 3:01 am

    That man is not a druggy, only a tyrant. The ability of this tyrant to interpret the constitution as he sees fit is a fault of the sheep that voted in the powers that nominated such a pile of rubbish to sit behind the bench.

    • joefoam April 13, 2018, 9:51 am

      Simply astonishing that one man, who puts his pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us, is considered to be the wisest man since Solomon. It underscores the need to vote or appoint judges that have no bias.

  • piper April 10, 2018, 10:32 pm

    That judge sounds like a druggy with that kind of reasoning.

    • Drew April 13, 2018, 6:28 am

      How many bowls of crack does it take for your brain to escape reality? Then again he’s probably smoking dog sh!t to come up with such garbage flowing from his mouth. I can’t wait for the day when these fucktards get their asses handed to them.

      • Zupglick April 13, 2018, 11:16 am

        Unfortunately, it will be up to the rest of us to defend him.

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