In a significant move toward challenging Maryland’s controversial ban on so-called “assault weapons,” the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), along with several other plaintiffs, have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider their case, Bianchi v. Frosh. This marks a continued effort to challenge what these organizations view as unconstitutional limitations on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.
Joining SAF and CCRKBA in this legal battle are the Firearms Policy Coalition, Field Traders, LLC, and three individuals, David Snope, Micah Schaefer, and Dominic Bianchi, after whom the case is named. Their collective effort underscores the growing contention surrounding firearm regulations in the United States, particularly regarding the ownership of modern semiautomatic rifles.
The push for the Supreme Court’s intervention comes after a perplexing delay in the judicial process. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in late June 2022 to grant certiorari, vacate the prior ruling by a lower federal court and remand the case to the Fourth Circuit for reconsideration in light of the Bruen ruling, the case encountered an unusual stall. Despite being fully briefed and argued before a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit, over a year passed without a panel opinion. The Fourth Circuit then unexpectedly decided to hear the case en banc (before the full bench), a move that has significantly delayed resolution and prompted accusations of judicial maneuvering to avoid a ruling favorable to the plaintiffs.
Alan M. Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of SAF, emphasized the national significance of the issue, noting that the type of rifle banned by Maryland is the most popular in the country and widely used by Americans. He criticized the appellate courts, including the Fourth Circuit, for their interpretations post-Bruen, arguing that the Supreme Court’s intervention is crucial for a definitive resolution.
Adam Kraut, SAF’s Executive Director, expressed frustration over the Fourth Circuit’s handling of the case, suggesting that the court’s en banc decision was an attempt to override a potentially disagreeable panel decision. He underscored the need for the Supreme Court to step in to ensure lower courts properly and promptly address such critical Second Amendment issues, highlighting the ongoing infringement on the plaintiffs’ rights.
The petition for certiorari before judgment is an extraordinary step, reflecting the plaintiffs’ view of the case’s urgent public importance and their determination to see the Maryland Assault Weapons Ban overturned. As the legal battle unfolds, all eyes are on the Supreme Court, awaiting a decision that could have profound implications for gun laws and Second Amendment rights across the United States.
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