WASHINGTON, January 21, 2015 — Earlier this month the attorney generals from eight states and the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief in the ongoing case of Stephen V. Kolbe v. Martin O’Malley.
The case is a challenge by a number of gun rights groups and business, supported by 21 state attorneys general, against the Maryland Gun Safety Act of 2014, which banned 45 different weapons as well as placing strict limits on magazine capacity. The law is summarily supported by the State of Maryland, a number of gun control groups including the Brady Campaign, and most recently, the attorneys general of eight states and the District of Columbia.
The struggle to overturn the law has now reached the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and according to The Daily Record the justices are set to hear oral arguments in March. However, no such schedule can be found on the Court website.
The most interesting result of this back and forth between pro- and anti-gun control groups has been the establishment of the positions of several U.S. states by their attorneys general. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and West Virginia have thrown their support behind the plaintiffs in an effort to overturn the law. Opposing them are the state attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia.
These states and the amicus briefs that they have filed on behalf of their respective sides have afforded the people of the United States with the ability to clearly identify, through their own words, the various positions of the various states on firearms.
From the amicus brief filed by the pro-gun states on November 12, 2014:
“This law violates the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to weapons typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. The core interest protected by this right is the use of such weapons for self-defense.” (p. 6).
From the amicus brief filed by the pro-gun control states.
“The codification of the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment, and the incorporation of that right against the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, does not bar the States’ democratically chosen representatives from considering every policy proposal that, in furtherance of public safety, might in some way limit the use or possession of any particular type of firearm.” (p. 13).
These varying positions outline a vastly contrasting approach towards gun violence in the United States. On one hand, 21 states have outlined their belief that those weapons Maryland deems too dangerous and detrimental to the public good are in fact widely employed for self-defense, and under that logic they should not and cannot be banned. On the other hand, the states who filed against believe that it is the duty of states and their representatives to address the issue of gun violence by considering any and all proposals.
Unfortunately for the citizens of those states whose elected officials essentially experiment with gun control measures, their harsh laws are having an adverse effect on the ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves. This is a truth that bears repeating. The old line, “if you outlaw guns only criminals will have guns,” has the ring of truth.
While the various anti-gun legislatures experiment with laws that may or may not reduce gun violence, they hamper the ability of individuals to lawfully and legally purchase firearms for their own defense. With some states supporting the right of individuals to purchase and own firearms that are commonly used for self-defense, and other states essentially denying that such arms are really used for common defense, Americans should stand up and take notice.
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