Strict scrutiny in MD by the 4th on the 2nd

The 4th Circuit Court ruled on an assault weapon ban in Maryland. They said, in part:

Strict scrutiny, then, is the appropriate level of scrutiny to apply to the ban of semi- automatic rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds.


In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment—“the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home,” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions, to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard of review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim. Thus, the panel vacates the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims and remands for the district court to apply strict scrutiny.

It was a 2-1 majority. To put it technically, “Suck on that one, anti-rights cultists!”

Ahem. That is to say, “I’d count that as a potentially important win.”


4 thoughts on “Strict scrutiny in MD by the 4th on the 2nd

  1. a good win. generally, we don’t want such matters litigated in the 9th circuit, or anywhere near washington d.c. this is a nice result out of anyplace near the capital. said by someone from one of the outlying “districts.”

  2. True, though “nice try, now try again” isn’t quite as satisfying as “we reverse”.

    Also, while “strict scrutiny” is better than nothing, it still has no Constitutional basis as I have pointed out before — what happened here could be read simply as an invitation for the bad guys to come up with better excuses for infringing something that “shall not be infringed”.

    • I remember reading that the US Court of Appeals (any circuit) generally avoids ruling on the merits of cases. Rather, they tend to decide based on perceived procedural errors. As such, reminding cases back to the courts from which they came with clarifying instructions is pretty common.

      Still, a finding that the “intermediate scrutiny two-step” is, in itself, a procedural error when applied to the Second Amendment is fantastic from ANY circuit, let alone a non-gun-friendly one like the 2nd.

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