SAF Asks Supreme Court to Review Maryland ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has joined several other groups in filing an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to review Maryland’s ban on so-called ‘assault weapons.’

“Our interest in this case [Kolbe v. Hogan] is guided by the belief that government cannot prohibit whole classes of firearms, including semiautomatic sport-utility rifles, that are in common use by private citizens and civilian law enforcement,” explained SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb in a press release.

“But in Maryland, they want to do exactly that,” he continued. “It’s almost as if they either don’t understand Heller, but are deliberately ignoring what was explained clearly by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.”

Back in February, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban, which was expanded in 2013 under the “Firearms Safety Act of 2013,” arguing that the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision left the door open to permit governments to regulate firearms that are similar to those issued to military personnel.

Here is the excerpt from Heller that the 4th Circuit underscored as grounds for bans on black rifles (emphasis added):

It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.

In the brief, SAF, the Cato Institute, the Independence Institute and the National Sheriffs’ Association argue that the 4th Circuit’s decision is a misreading of Heller.

“Maryland’s firearm and ammunition restrictions stem from a misunderstanding of firearms that are in common use by citizens and law enforcement agencies. Most sheriffs and deputies carry semi-automatic handguns with magazines larger than 10 rounds that are banned in Maryland; many patrol vehicles carry a rifle that is banned in Maryland,” reads the brief.

“Classifying typical sheriffs’ arms as ‘weapons of war’ alienates the public from law enforcement. Among the many harmful consequences: when a deputy uses deadly force, people will say that he or she used a military weapon. This is inflammatory, and false,” it continues.

The Supreme Court will return from its summer break in Oct. It will then decide what cases it will hear for the next session. SCOTUS receives around 10,000 petitions each year. Of those, it only picks about 80 cases to hear. Yes, that means that less than one percent of cases make it before the bench.

“This is just one of several Second Amendment questions we believe the high court needs to address,” Gottlieb said. “There is also the question of bearing arms outside the home for personal protection. These constitutional issues must be addressed, and we’d rather it be sooner than later.”

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • MASTERMECH48 April 20, 2019, 9:12 pm

    How Does Maryland enforce their assault weapons ban in the criminal arena?? Bet it is not a player UNTIL a crime is committed. Hence I would think that without equal active enforcement, Maryland would in fact be oppressing the law abiding and supporting the criminals.. ARE they for REAL????

  • Chris Beitzel August 26, 2017, 10:22 am

    Next they need to adjust the fact that Maryland denies the right to purchase any weapon at all if you have been convicted of a crime that could carry any jail sentence whatsoever like DUI trespassing or a minor possession charge this is totally against the Second Amendment and against the rule of only felons should be denied the ability to purchase weapons! What these horse restrictions a lot of marylanders are denied their second amendment rights to even purchase a hunting weapon! Therefore I wish you guys would take up this case against the Maryland legislature and Maryland gun laws of purchase restriction.

  • ras August 25, 2017, 10:59 am

    Even with Judge Gorsuch on the bench, it is highly unlikely that the SCOTUS will take up any 2nd Amendment cases in the near future. The court has morphed into a political institution that only serves to further the ideology of those sitting on the bench. The ruling, especially those regarding gun rights are not based on the constitution, but on their own personal agendas. I would be more optimistic of the future of gun rights if there were 2 or 3 more Judge Gorsuch on the bench, but with the current political climate, it’s seems not to happen for a while if at all.

  • Roger Engle August 25, 2017, 8:15 am

    It would be nice if you would add the date to your “Related Posts” links so we don’t waste time reading old outdated info.

  • geo wash August 24, 2017, 2:26 am

    Folks looking for the government to insure your rights?

    You’re looking at the wrong place.

    Only YOU can defend your rights.

    Asking the government to rule on your rights equates to you agreeing that the government can regulate your rights.

    If you think its a right then the government cannot regulate it at all. When you ask them not to violate your right that is giving them the authority to even be able to rule on them.

    • Barry Soetoroe August 25, 2017, 6:22 am

      We must have a Convention of States to get rid of the liberal poisons that are destroying our liberty and our nation.
      Please support the Convention of States at
      The Amendments to the Constitution are God-given and therefore should never have been titled \”Amendments\” to anything. These Amendments should have been written directly into the Constitution as organic articles thereof. Further, the 2nd Amendment should never have any words about the \”Militia\” or \”Well regulated\” or such non-sense. It is a freedom of man to own and use ANY arm and ammunition that the state could employ against its citizens. If the government\’s army or police rolls down your street with MRAP\’s and automatic weapons then the citizenry MUST be ready to employ the same against the government at all times – be it as a free militia or otherwise. To surrender our rights to a certain entity (in this case the government) is to willingly become a serf and subject of that entity. The fool who believes otherwise deserves his miserable fate.
      Please support the Convention of States at

      • Infidel762x51 August 25, 2017, 8:05 am

        A convention of states will most probably do more harm than good. Once they get started there is no telling how much damage could be done.

      • George August 25, 2017, 11:45 am

        Nope. Leave the 2nd Amendment alone. I am unpersuaded that there are people alive today who are smarter, more interested in individual liberty and dedicated to this Republic than those Founding Fathers who wrote the documents in the first place. They pledged their lives, their treasure and their sacred honor to this nation and the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights needs any additions from slack jawed, mouth breathing assholes who think they know better than those giants who formed this nation. All that needs to happen is that the SCOTUS simply rule on the plain meaning of the Amendment: that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, PERIOD. A convention of states might work to institute term limits but other than that, hands OFF the 2nd!

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