Locke Joins Friend-of-the-Court Brief In Case Challenging Maryland’s Ban on So-Called “Assault Weapons”
February 14, 2022
RALEIGH – As part of our commitment to the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, the John Locke Foundation has joined a brief in Bianchi v. Frosh, a critical Second Amendment case in which the plaintiffs are requesting review by the U.S. Supreme Court, formally known as a Petition for Writ of Certiorari.
In Bianchi v. Frosh, Dominic Bianchi is challenging Maryland’s law against widely owned semi-automatic rifles such as AR-15s, guns the state law deems military-style “assault weapons.” Maryland residents are banned from owning and possessing these firearms. A Supreme Court decision in the case would help to clarify the types of firearms that are constitutionally protected.
The plaintiffs’ challenge was dismissed by a U.S. District Court in March 2021. In September 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal.
In addition to Locke, the Cato Institute, the Center to Keep and Bear Arms, and the Independence Institute have also joined the friend-of-the-court brief. The primary authors are David Kopel and George Moscary, two highly regarded scholars representing a group called Professors of Second Amendment Law.
The brief lays out a key argument for overturning Maryland’s ban. “The rifles at issue here are ‘in common use,’ as lower courts have acknowledged. ‘Common use’ is not determined by how often a gun is fired in self-defense. ‘Common use’ encompasses all lawful uses, including hunting and self-defense.”
“Locke is joining this brief because it addresses an important issue that has yet to come before the Supreme Court,” said Jon Guze, Locke Senior Fellow in Legal Studies. “In District of Columbia v. Heller, the court held that the Second Amendment applies, not just to militia, but also to ordinary citizens. In its pending decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, the court will probably find that it guarantees, not just the right to keep arms in the home, but also the right to carry them in public.”
“With the ‘who’ and ‘where’ questions addressed via those two cases,” Guze explained, “Bianchi gives the court the opportunity to address the ‘what’ question as well, hopefully by finding that the Second Amendment applies, not just to weapons like handguns that are owned primarily for self-defense, but also to multi-use long guns, including semi-automatic rifles.”