Kolbe v. O’Malley
(opposing the Maryland gun law)

admin Firearms Law

A federal district judge upheld the Maryland 2013 Firearms Safety Act which bans (i) so-called “assault weapons” and (ii) so-called “large-capacity magazines” that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.  The district judge first acknowledged that the Maryland Act was an “infringement” on Second Amendment rights, but upheld the law anyway, in utter disregard of the Second Amendment text commanding that those rights “shall not be infringed.”

CLDEF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in support of a challenge to the district court’s ruling.  Our brief first attacked the many factual errors in the district judge’s opinion which formed the basis for her flawed legal analysis.  District Judge Blake sought to demonize the regulated firearms and magazines, relying on demonstrably false claims that revealed animus towards firearms.  Our brief noted that the judge’s claim that “assault” rifles are not commonly used because they represent only a small percentage of total firearms is like saying Honda Accords are not commonly used because they represent only a small percentage of total cars.  Meanwhile, the district judge conveniently failed to address whether so-called “large-capacity magazines” are in common use, as the government had not even bothered to contest that fact.

Our brief also argued that Second Amendment rights are not to be subject to judicial interest balancing, as Heller teaches.

Finally, our brief demonstrated why the Maryland law’s numerous exemptions, such as those for police and military, must fail.  Heller stated clearly that Second Amendment rights belong to all the People, not just “members of a [government] fighting force.”  Permitting certain groups to have these weapons “within the scope of official business” does not lessen the Second Amendment breach.

The case is now pending.

[CLDEF Amicus Curiae Brief (November 12, 2014)]