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SCOTUS Denies Weapons of War and Open Carry Appeals

The United States Supreme Court dealt a blow to gun advocates today by rejecting a pair of appeals, each seeking to overturn state law restrictions on firearms. One of the appeals involved the Maryland ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines, and the other involved Florida's ban on the open carry of handguns.

Notably, the High Court has not heard a major gun case since 2010. At that time, it held that handguns could not be banned by state and local governments for protection in a home. And, likely due to the high level of public concern related to the recent spate of mass shootings, the Court probably does not want to loosen any gun restrictions that have been upheld by an appellate court.

Decisively Divisive

No matter where a person falls in the gun debate, the only thing that is certain is that it is a divisive issue.

The Maryland case fanned those flames as the justice writing the opinion upholding the ban called the assault rifles "weapons of war." In doing so, the Fourth Circuit ruled that the Second Amendment does not extend protection to those weapons of war. The appeal in that case argued that assault rifles are commonly used for self defense and defense of the home, by law abiding citizens. The law was passed in the wake of the deadly Sandy Hook massacre.

In the Florida case, the issue was whether the ban on the open carry of a handgun was constitutional. The appellate court ruled that Florida, like a handful of other states, did not violate the Second Amendment by prohibiting the open carry of handguns, despite allowing the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun. The case centered around an individual charged with openly carrying a handgun.

No Supreme Comment

Often when highly watched cases are rejected by SCOTUS, there will be a short explanation. However, in these cases, SCOTUS remained silent as to why the matters were rejected.

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