Maryland Residents Challenge the 4th Circuit’s Kolbe v. Hogan Ruling

By Dave Dolbee published on in Legal, News

In April 2013, Maryland passed the Firearm Safety Act (FSA). Among other things, the FSA bans law-abiding citizens, with the exception of retired law enforcement officers, from possessing the vast majority of semi-automatic rifles commonly kept by several million American citizens for defending their families and homes and other lawful purposes. In truth, the law went so far as to ban 45 types of so-called assault weapons and limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds.

People holding signs that read "no guns"

Earlier this year, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law and ruled against the pro Second Amendment forces in Kolbe v. Hogan. However, Kolbe v. Hogan is a direct contradiction of the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision, District of Columbia v. Heller. The Heller decision, of course, famously re-affirmed American citizens’ right to self-defense.

Fortunately, the good citizens of Maryland are not done with the fight. In fact a group of citizens, with the support of the National Rifle Association, filed a petition to the United States Supreme Court on Friday seeking to reverse the Court of Appeals’ ruling.

“Lower courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment for too long, and the Kolbe decision crossed yet another line,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The popular rifles and standard magazines banned in Maryland are some of the best tools for self-defense. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will reverse this egregious decision.”

The petition asks the Supreme Court to confirm that its ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller protects the most popular semiautomatic rifles and magazines.

The 4th Circuit has gone further than any other court in attacking Second Amendment freedoms with this ruling by holding that the Second Amendment does not apply to common firearms and magazines. Fortunately, the NRA is pledging its full support, perhaps other pro Second Amendment groups will follow if they have not already.

“Maryland’s ban on commonly owned rifles and magazines is unconstitutional. The National Rifle Association will continue to fight for all Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”

Do you think the lower courts are overstepping their authority and issuing rulings contrary to the Supreme Court’s Heller decision? Will the residents and the NRA be successful? Share your answers and opinions in the comment section.


Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business,, and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (19)

  • Johnbrown


    I have followed many “Shooter’s Log” articles. The author’s message was quite easy to follow and let’s all support the 2nd Amendment folks in Maryland. Apparently, less than perfect spelling, sentence structure and punctuation in an article overwhelms the “common sense challenged”. Lighten up citizens and focus on the message here.


    • Martin


      Hear hear!


  • Terry Gay


    Miller vs. the United States resulted in a stare decisis ruling that said the standard for firearms owned by citizens will be military firearms both past and present. Heller reaffirms Miller and the Maryland appellate court has violated both rulings. The Supreme Court should hear this case and reject the Maryland Courts rulings.


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