You might have read some articles or seen headlines about a court upholding a ban on “assault rifles,” including the AR-15. Independent Program Attorneys at the law firm of Walker & Byington, PLLC have received many questions from Members concerned that this ruling has made the AR-15 (and similar semi-automatic firearms) illegal “assault weapons” everywhere in the country. Is this the truth of the matter, or a case of media misinformation?
It is true that a federal appellate court did uphold an “assault weapon” ban; the Maryland federal appeals court, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, upheld a Maryland law as being constitutional that banned certain semi-automatic weapons, including AR-15s. While the decision is disappointing to gun owners everywhere, the good news is that the only people affected by the ruling will be individuals living in the Fourth Circuit. To give North Carolina and Virginia Members peace of mind, this decision upheld a Maryland law that was on the books; it does not apply the law to North Carolina or Virginia.
The bad news, though, is that Marylanders just lost a little more of their Second Amendment rights. Chances are that the case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court in the next few years, so that the Court can decide whether these types of bans are unconstitutional. Until then, the people living in Maryland will not be able to own, protect themselves, or protect their families with so-called “assault rifles.”
Thankfully, Members in most other states can continue to exercise their 2nd Amendment right and own AR-15s and other semi-auto firearms. And as always, this ban is just a reminder that you visit certain states at your own risk! — by Walker & Byington, PLLC