The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday heard a challenge to Maryland’s 2013 “Firearm Safety Act,” which banned millions of conventional semi-automatic firearms and magazines with capacities over 10 rounds. As we’ve reported, a three-judge panel of that court in February directed a lower court to reconsider the case using “strict scrutiny”—the highest level of judicial review—to ensure the ban doesn’t violate the Second Amendment. Now the case is being considered by the full 4th Circuit Court.
Although it’s too close to guess how the case will go, it’s clear that one of the Maryland government’s justifications for the ban—that it outlaws firearms that are “dangerous” or “unusual”—doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
The firearms banned are neither particularly “dangerous”—most deer rifles are more powerful—nor unusual, since more AR-15s are sold in this country than Ford F-150s. Watch this space for updates.