Posted on April 08 2018
The common legislative definitions of assault weapons include;
- Semi-Automatic Firearm that accepts a detailed ‘high capacity’ magazine.
- Folding or telescoping stock.
- weapon that can maximize carnage in the least amount of time.
One thing to keep in mind, the NRA and its subsidiary associations tend to argue on the “definition’ of what constitutes an assault weapon. And the definition of an assault weapon varies from state to state.
Also those who don’t know Congress enacted what’s known as the Dickey Amendment. Which prohibited ANY federal funds to be used to track or research gun violence. This Mother Jones article is an excellent read to understand the Dickey Amendment and how the NRA’s lobbying has thwarted repealing this for 22+ years.
Mass shootings In America using Assault Weapons:
- 1993 office shooting in San Francisco - 9 dead and 6 injured
- 1999 Columbine High School - 15 dead and 24 injured
- 2009 Fort Hood, TX - 13 dead and 30 injured
- 2007 Northern Illinois University 5 dead and 16 injured
- 2007 Virginia Tech, VA - 32 dead and 13 injured
- 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School, 28 dead and 2 injured
- 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting - 12 dead and 58 injured
- 2013 Washington Navy Yard - 12 dead and 3 injured
- 2014 Isla Vista, CA - 6 dead and 7 injured
- 2015 Umpqua Community College OR - 9 dead and 9 injured
- 2015 San Bernardino, CA - 14 dead and 22 injured
- 2016 Charleston,SC Church - 9 dead
- 2016 - Pulse Nightclub - 49 dead and 59 injured
- 2017 Las Vegas - 59 dead and 508 injured
- 2017 Sutherland Springs, TX - 27 dead and 20 injured
- 2018 Parkland, FL - 17 dead and 17 injured
2017 deadliest mass shooting
in our Country’s history 345 shootings
Sadly based on the nonpartisan Gun Violence Archive, 2018 appears to be out pacing 2017. Here is a link to the 2018 real time statistics
Alrighty, now that you have a few more facts and hopefully a better comprehension of Guns and America. Let’s go ahead and move on to the SCOTUS, landmark ruling:
District of Columbia v Heller
FACTS OF CASE;
- Provisions of the District of Columbia Code made it illegal to carry an unregistered firearm and prohibited the registration of handguns, though the chief of police could issue one-year licenses for handguns.
- The DC Code contained provisions that required owners of lawfully registered firearms to keep them unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or other similar device unless the firearms were located in a place of business or being used for legal recreational activities.
- Dick Anthony Heller...”sought an injunction against the enforcement of the relevant parts of the Code and argued that they violated his Second Amendment right to keep a functional firearm in his home without a license.”
- The district court dismissed the complaint.
- Heller then filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The DCCoAs reversed and held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep firearms in the home for the purpose of self-defense, and the District of Columbia’s requirement that firearms kept in the home be nonfunctional violated that right.
QUESTION BEFORE SCOTUS;
‘Do the provisions of the District of Columbia Code that restrict the licensing of handguns and require licensed firearms kept in the home to be kept nonfunctional violate the Second Amendment?’
RULING IN A 5-4 majority;
- “Second Amendment that references a “militia” is a prefatory clause that does not limit the operative clause of the Amendment. Additionally, the term “militia” should not be confined to those serving in the military, because at the time the term referred to all able-bodied men who were capable of being called to such service.
- To read the Amendment as limiting the right to bear arms only to those in a governed military force would be to create exactly the type of state-sponsored force against which the Amendment was meant to protect people. Because the text of the Amendment should be read in the manner that gives greatest effect to the plain meaning it would have had at the time it was written, the operative clause should be read to “guarantee an individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”
- ‘This reading is also in line with legal writing of the time and subsequent scholarship. Therefore, banning handguns, an entire class of arms that is commonly used for protection purposes, and prohibiting firearms from being kept functional in the home, the area traditionally in need of protection, violates the Second Amendment.’
- Justice Scalia specifically stated; “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,"
Essentially SCOTUS in DC v Heller specifically carved out “weapons of war” are not protected by the Second Amendment.
As I’ve previously discussed the AR weapon was “originally commissioned by the US Army” and it is colloquially known as a “killing machine”, partially because of the efficiency, lightweightness and ease of use associated with the ArmaLite AR-15, which uses .223 caliber bullet, this ammunition does incomprehensible damage to the body’s soft tissue.
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Published Opinion
- ...’that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment. That is, we are convinced that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are among those arms that are “like” “M-16 rifles” — “weapons that are most useful in military service” — which the Heller Court singled out as being beyond the Second Amendment’s reach. See 554 U.S. at 627 (rejecting the notion that the Second Amendment safeguards “M-16 rifles and the like”). Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage.
- ‘Nevertheless, we also find it prudent to rule that — even if the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are somehow entitled to Second Amendment protection — the district court properly subjected the FSA to intermediate scrutiny and correctly upheld it as constitutional under that standard of review.”
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Published Opinion
...affirmed the decision of the court, and therefore the constitutionality of the ban.
- “laws similar to Highland Park’s reduce the share of gun crimes involving assault weapons.”
Judge Easterbrook, who wrote the majority opinion, went even further:
- ...”assault weapons with large‐capacity magazines can fire more shots, faster, and thus can be more dangerous in aggregate. Why else are they the weapons of choice in mass shootings? A ban on assault weapons and large‐capacity magazines might not prevent shootings in Highland Park (where they are already rare), but it may reduce the carnage if a mass shooting occurs.”
April 6, 2018 Federal Judge in Massachusetts opined;
Assault weapons ban...
does NOT violate the 2nd Amendment”
U.S. District Judge William Young stated;
- “...assault weapons are military firearms that fall beyond the reach of the constitutional right to “bear arms.”
In the 47 page Order, Judge Young echoed similar arguments fro other Districts, Federal Appeals and from the Supreme Court...
- ‘The AR-15 and its analogs, along with large capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional right to ‘bear arms,’”
- ‘Americans are not afraid of bumptious, raucous and robust debate about these matters. We call it democracy,"
- Young wrote. "Justice Scalia would be proud."
- Young also upheld AG Healey’s 2016 enforcement notice to gun sellers and manufacturers.
- He further clarifying what constitutes a “copy” or “duplicate” weapon under the state’s 1998 assault weapon ban, including copies of the Colt AR-15 and the Kalashnikov AK-47.
Judge Young went on to echo late Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s rational during the Heller cases, in which he so astutely opined;
“Weapons that are most useful in military service — M-16 rifles and the like" aren’t protected by the Second Amendment and "may be banned,"
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