Law Enforcement Group Challenges Ban

( – The US Supreme Court expanded gun rights with its New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen ruling in 2022. The ruling also established a test for gun laws. Maryland’s ban on so-called assault weapons is being challenged, and a law enforcement group supports efforts to overturn it.

On March 13, the International Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association filed a friend-of-the-court (amicus curiae) brief with the Supreme Court in the Bianchi v. Brown case, opposing the Maryland ban on semiautomatic weapons. The pro-Second Amendment group argues the prohibition is on rifles that “are excellent arms for lawful defense of self and others.”

The brief disputes a claim by the 4th Circuit in the Kolbe v. Hogan case that the prohibited guns are “exceptionally lethal weapons of war” and not suitable for self-defense. According to the organization, the recoil is lower on many of those rifles because the ammunition is less powerful than most other rifle ammo. Because of the ease of use, the banned guns are often the choice of “law-abiding citizens for lawful defense” of themselves and others.

The organization goes on to dispute allegations that the weapons are fired faster than other weapons. “The rifles are not machine guns; they fire at the same rate as common handguns,” the brief states.

Gun rights activists are asking the high court to hear the case about the ban. They asked for the review after the 4th Circuit voted to allow the entire court to hear the case, bypassing the three-judge panel that heard arguments on the case in December 2022.

The fight over the Mayland law has been going on for years. In 2017, the 4th Circuit allowed the law to remain in place. Opponents asked the Supreme Court to step in, but the high court also allowed the law to stand. Then, in 2020, after the SCOTUS had already allowed it, plaintiffs sued again, claiming it violated the Second Amendment. In 2021, the 4th Circuit once again allowed the law to stand. After the Bruen ruling, the SCOTUS ordered the 4th Circuit to revisit its 2021 ruling. Now, the high court could rule again.

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