Last week, Firearms Policy Coalition announced the filing of Bianchi v. Frosh, a Second Amendment lawsuit challenging Maryand’s ban on so-called “assault weapons”, which are constitutionally protected arms under the Second Amendment
Of the multiple criteria that Maryland currently uses to ban firearms, one bans guns by name and the other bans guns based on certain features the state does not approve of. Some of the guns banned by name include the “Bushmaster semi-auto rifle”, “Holmes model 88 shotgun”, “Ruger mini-14 folding stock model”, and the “Springfield Armory M1A”. If a gun isn’t banned by name, it will be considered a “copycat weapon” (and thus also banned) if it meets any of the below criteria:
(i) a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has any two of the following:
- a folding stock;
- a grenade launcher or flare launcher; or
- a flash suppressor;
(ii) a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds;
(iii) a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 29 inches;
(iv) a semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds;
(v) a semiautomatic shotgun that has a folding stock; or
(vi) a shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
Owned by millions of Americans, AR-15 rifles are among the most popular firearms in the nation. Their use of 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition makes them ideal firearms for self-defense in the home because it’s accurate, lightweight, and provides sufficient stopping power while being less likely than most pistol rounds to pass through the target or other objects.
The banned features are also useful for home defense. Flash suppressors, for example, protect homeowners from momentary blindness while reducing the chances that an invader will identify their position. In addition, they promote accuracy when target shooting or hunting, especially at dawn. Folding stocks on long guns have multiple lawful uses of their own, such as making it easier to maneuver the firearm in tight home spaces and carry over long distances while hunting. Folding stocks also make it easier to safely store firearms, since the smaller size when folded requires a smaller (and therefore less expensive) container.
The complaint ends by asking the court to rule that Maryland’s ban is unconstitutional and to enjoin the defendants from enforcing it.
To learn more about this case and help fund the battle, visit MarylandAWban.com