Victory! GAG Lauds US Appellate Court's Inspiring Assault Weapons Ban Ruling
Yesterday, February 21, 2017, in a 10-4 ruling, the 4th U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA ruled that Maryland's ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons and its 10 round limit on guns magazines aren't protected by the Second Amendment. The Court saw that it had no right to offer Second Amendment protections to firearms that Judge Robert King identified as "weapons of war."
Elizabeth Banach, executive director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, said the decision is “overwhelming proof that reasonable measures to prevent gun violence are constitutional.”“Maryland’s law needs to become a national model of evidence-based policies that will reduce gun violence.” - taken from Washington Post, Brian Witte/AP
In a rare turn of events, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a Reagan appointee Wilkinson joined the majority opinion, but he wrote separately to express his discomfort with the gun lobby’s strategy of using the courts to increase access to dangerous firearms. In short, he read the court for filth:
"As Heller recognized, there is a balance to be struck here. While courts exist to protect individual rights, we are not the instruments of anyone’s political agenda, we are not empowered to court mass consequences we cannot predict, and we are not impaneled to add indefinitely to the growing list of subjects on which the states of our Union and the citizens of our country no longer have any meaningful say."
Wilkinson also criticized the dissenting judges, as well as the plaintiffs in this case, for attempting to take gun regulation out of democratic sphere almost entirely. His panegyric to judicial restraint with regard to Second Amendment interpretation is quite moving:
"Disenfranchising the American people on this life and death subj ect would be the gravest and most serious of steps. It is their community, not ours. It is their safety, not ours. It is their lives, not ours. To say in the wake of so many mass shootings in so many localities across this country that the people themselves are now to be rendered newly powerless, that all they can do is stand by and watch as federal courts design their destiny—this would deliver a body blow to democracy as we have known it since the very founding of this nation." - taken from Slate, Mark Joseph Stern
The language of the 4th Court of Appeals reminds us that a precedent for a rigorus interpretation of the constitution has been established and that our movement's voice is being heard. This victory tastes especially sweet when we consider the armada of attack the GVP movement has endured since Trump and the NRA took office on J20.
There have been alarms and set backs:
Last month, Republican Richard Hudson of NC introduced the NRA-backed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 in the House.
Last week, SJ 14, the Social Security Administration Resolution to prevent those who suffer from mental health issues to be screened by NICS and forbidden to purchase firearms was voted back.
Two weeks ago, Texas courts pushed for permit-less carry.
Trump provided a 'clear path' for Suppressor Deregulation.
U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated in her nomination hearing that guns in schools should be left up to states and that she supported the idea.
It has been relentless, but we are not defeated. In fact, the Trump/NRA Gun Violence Machine has made us even angrier and more focused. We know that the current regime's plan is to widdle us down, to make us weak and to not use every opportunity to draw attention to the Trump/NRA guns everywhere vision. We know that while the Resistance is strong, Fighting Gun Violence = Fighting Trump.
We know the majority of the country wants safer gun laws. We also know that we're just getting started.