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The Truth About a Court Decision ‘Banning’ AR-15s

Bob Campbell holding an AR-15

You might have read some articles or seen headlines about a court upholding a ban on “assault rifles,” including the AR-15. Independent Program Attorneys at the law firm of Walker & Byington, PLLC have received many questions from members concerned that this ruling has made the AR-15 (and similar semi-automatic firearms) illegal “assault weapons” everywhere in the country. Is this the truth of the matter, or a case of media misinformation? It is true that a federal appellate court did uphold an “assault weapon” ban; the Maryland federal appeals court, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, upheld a Maryland law as being constitutional that banned certain semi-automatic weapons, including AR-15s. While the decision is disappointing to gun owners everywhere, the good news is that the only people affected by the ruling will be individuals living in the Fourth Circuit. To give North Carolina and Virginia Members peace of mind, this decision upheld a Maryland law that was on the books; it does not apply the law to North Carolina or Virginia.

The bad news, though, is that Marylanders just lost a little more of their Second Amendment rights. The chances are that the case will go to the U.S. Supreme Court in the next few years so that the Court can decide whether these types of bans are unconstitutional. Until then, the people living in Maryland will not be able to own, protect themselves, or protect their families with so-called “assault rifles.” Thankfully, members in most other states can continue to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to own AR-15s and other semi-auto firearms. And, as always, this ban is just a reminder that you visit certain states at your own risk! ~by Walker & Byington, PLLC

What do you think would be the outcome if this case was heard by the Supreme Court tomorrow? Would that change with the addition of a ninth judge (namely Gorsuch)? Share your answers in the comment section.

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield:

You might have read some articles or seen headlines about a court upholding a ban on “assault rifles,” including the AR-15. Independent Program Attorneys at the law firm of Walker & Byington, PLLC have received many questions from Members concerned that this ruling has made the AR-15 (and similar semi-automatic firearms) illegal “assault weapons” everywhere in the country. Is this the truth of the matter, or a case of media misinformation?
Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Gordon Cooper says that words alone are not enough to justify the use of force or deadly force in an escalating situation. But couple them with threatening action, and it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. Click to watch the video:
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Comments (42)

  1. Funny story about Maryland and their ban. I lived in the state for almost 30 years….its as liberal as it gets. Back when they banned AK’s and AR’s and high capacity mags, I had just bought a AK…it was grandfathered at the time. When the Governor (Paris Glendening) wanted a AK 47 to take to the state house to show the assembly in his push to ban them, he asked the State Police for one for show and tell…problem was, they didn’t have any….they said that one had never been used in the state in the commission of a crime. The State Police had to go to a gun dealer and barrow one. This was back when the Libs and Clinton were working on the Brady Bill. The only thing that kept me in that state was my job and after I retired, I got the hell out of there.

    1. I agree with Steven. After having lived next door in northern Virginia for over nine years, traveling almost daily into Maryland on business and hearing all the political nonsense and gun control legislation (restrictions) in Maryland, I would never live in that state as a gun owner or a conservative. Your 2A rights are always in question and the potential for prosecution from local government is not worth the risk.

  2. There may be pockets of people who lay down their ability to defend themselves, however the majority of law abiding, gun owning citizens will most likely just become soft criminals in the case of such a ban of weapons. We are not about to give up our AR-15’s as long as they are out there against us! Peace to us all. But if not, I’ll be keeping my AR, thank you very much!

  3. My plans for my new, American made AR-15 include snow camo, winter coveralls, and a dying rabbit call, to help remove some coyote from our area, the same coyote which have been surviving by eating our pets when we leave them out at night! R U missing a small dog or cat?

  4. The second amendment is a restriction against the Federal Government. This was incorporated to apply to the states. In US vs Miller
    “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a “shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length” at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense. Aymette v. State, 2 Humphreys (Tenn.) 154, 158.”

    “The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. “A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.” And further, that ordinarily, when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.”

    In short the people should be able to have arms that are “common use at the time.” Obviously the AR and most semi-auto firearms are common use in our current time.

    I’m a dumb Jarhead and I can figure this crap out.

  5. It’s all about money, control & gun sales.
    I think the gun & ammo manufactures want unrest to prop up gun sales. The sales numbers can’t sustain them selfs without the paranoia & a lot of crazy rumors. I’m very fortunate to live in Texas.
    You can’t get a lot of states to inforce the Federal law on immigration. You have states legalizing marijuana. Do you really think the Feds are coming for our guns & ammo? The genie is out of the bottle & Texas won’t bow to the federal government. Bottom line no domino effect.

    1. @ BT,

      I’m going to be politely blunt here and say your comment is full of contradictions. There would never be a need for you to feel fortunate to live under the protections of Texas if everything was really just “crazy rumors”. It’s all pretty real and there is a very serious liberal faction that is hell-bent-dedicated to doing everything in their power to ultimately take your guns.

      While I am sure the industry appreciates any time there is an increase in market sales, as any business should, you have just insulted every single person involved by claiming they are somehow culpable for coordinating some mass conspiracy designed to take your guns and ammo dollars.

      No one forces you to buy their products. So if you feel the so-called “crazy rumors” are false, then simply don’t buy. Meanwhile the rest of us know that a Court decision which upholds a ban on ARs is quite real for those in that region. We also remember that once upon a time a nationwide “Assault Weapons Ban” actually went into effect for 10 years. It could easily happen again.

    2. Ok you think my answer is full of contradictions. There’s not a blanketed answer for this topic.
      There has been some huge changes in out country since Bill Clinton signed a ban (on certain assault rifles) 23 years ago. You could still go down a buy a AR15 or AK47 they were just a little longer. Clips got shorter, along with some changes with flash suppressors. 23 years ago Clinton was riding Reagan’s coat tail & our economy was great, we didn’t have any debt to speak of and our financial system would loan money to a fence post. Where was all the paranoia and guns & ammo sales before Bill signed the assault ban? This all started after 911. We’ve never been able to relax since then. While all our resources were focus elsewhere, crime engulfed our country & our neighbor Mexico south of us.I don’t stay up at night worrying about or government taking my guns. I worry about some one breaking down my front door. It happened to my 73 year old father in Weslaco Tx at 3:30 pm. Thank god he wasn’t home. Down here there called home invasions. Nothing is free in this country unless you get this stupid thing called earned income tax or welfare, but that money comes from somewhere. Our Second amendment has been for sale since 911. Follow the money. Mexico calls it Mordida we call it lobbyist, it’s a way for paying for what you want. If you want to fish, hunt, drive, carry a gun on your person you pay for it. If you really want the make difference in this country let’s lobby for a attorney stamp when we buy our hunting license. When I was growing up dad had one pistol a few shotguns a couple of deer rifles and a few boxes of bullets & shells. Like I said the genie is out of the bottle. AR15 AK47 are the norm now. Sad but true. I know our State & federal government knows this. As the crow flies I live 10 miles from the Mexico border. What’s going on in Mexico & some parts of border states is worse the Iraq. I live 4 miles from the airport everyday I hear military helicopters flying over our house headed to the border. The law-enforcement are brave as long as they have the upper hand. When you get these crazy snipers all coked up from Mexico picking off law-enforcement on this side of the border then what. That’s what’s slowly happening. Do you think they are sticking around to be killed ? No. The assault rifle’s are here to stay. It’s not about a right anymore, it’s a necessity along with 30,60,100 round clips. Go to BLOG DEL NARCO and see what’s really going on down here. I don’t agree with a lot of Trumps immature ways but I think he sees things for what they are and doing something about it. Most of all I’m so glad that political correctness is out the window. It’s time we all go up and here the truth. If it hurts your feeling, to bad,sometimes the truth hurts. We need Mexico as bad as they need us. This drug war is all about money. With out the drug money our local & county law-enforcement infrastructure would dry up. Sad but so true.

    3. @ BT,

      Your haphazard detachment from certain realities has no effect on my feelings one way or another, so no feelings got hurt there. You can’t hurt the feelings of a person that prefers to deal in facts.

      Unlike me, you have chosen to apply a narrow-minded perspective on everyone and everything based on your personal perceptions from only your part of the Country. The result allows you to completely disregard the realities that immensely affect millions – both past and present – throughout the rest of our Country that you are obviously not aware of.

      So while you flagrantly choose to minimize the “Assault Weapons Ban”, that will still never change the reality of the actual facts in which the prohibition affected millions – both in commerce and in security – while doing absolutely nothing it was intended to do.

      One outrageously obvious inaccuracy you made was that you could NOT – “still go down a [sic] buy a AR15 or AK47 they were just a little longer.” Your comment would be laughable if it weren’t so grossly misstated.

      The reality was that it was a total ban on the manufacture, transfer, or possession of these weapons and magazines to any private citizen. Only those that already owned such weapons on the date of the Act could continue to lawfully possess them. Sure they were allowed to transfer them, but the increased cost became so prohibitive that it was rare.

      Imports had also been banned just the year prior, so the only weapons dealers could legally sell to private citizens which even remotely resembled the real thing were so severely modified that you couldn’t call them AR15s or AK47s by any stretch of the imagination.

      But any of this only matters to a person that actually cares to understand what the purpose of the Second Amendment is for to begin with.

      You see, I prefer to keep things in a global perspective in order to maintain an effective reality for the defense against tyranny. Obviously you don’t, especially if you think you could have defended much with one of those severely limited modifications that you claim were “just a little longer”. These weapons were neutered far worse than you make it sound.

      And you can save your speech about your border affairs. I am a career federal law enforcement agent and have spent much of my assignments running many a task force fighting the woes along the entire Southwest Border, including Texas.

      Now to get back on track… My main point in addressing you at all was to point out the ridiculousness of your conspiracy theory that somehow the gun industry has massively collaborated to scare the public into buying more guns. In so doing, I pointed out your contradiction that if it is all a scare tactic, then there should be no real need for you to be so thankful you live under the protections of Texas’ gun laws – because in your mind none of it is real to begin with; hence your contradiction.

    4. I respectfully disagree with a couple of your statements. First, I fully believe that Obama propped up the economy , more than once, by threatening to “pick up his pen”.
      Second, I am NOT one decesion nor a thousand from having my weapons taken. What dumbass is going to give up his guns? Let ’em come to Kentucky and Texas and Wyoming and N. Carolina and just take ’em?

    5. @ Ack Ack Jack,

      The effects caused by any of Obama’s wacky actions from one day to the next is an entirely different topic than me calling out BT’s claim in which he contends the gun industry has conspired to create “paranoia & a lot of crazy rumors” to increase gun sales.

      The gun industry is not behind all this liberal anti-gun legislation and laws, or acting as fake plaintiffs in all these anti-gun lawsuits. And they definitely aren’t behind all these Obama appointed liberal anti-gun District and Supreme Court judges with their anti-gun legislation from the bench.

      My point to BT is that all of this is very real. Their anti-gun movement is comprised of many factions – from mothers that really don’t like guns, to nefarious politicians that don’t want a population ready and able to defend against their impending tyranny. The gun industry couldn’t possibly invent all that and still have time to run their businesses.

      The reality is that regardless of their multifaceted reasoning, their combined anti-gun rhetoric makes for a very formidable and very real force to be reckoned with. So for BT to actually blame it all on the gun industry as some plot to create false “paranoia & a lot of crazy rumors” for the sake of lining their pockets is not only insulting to all of these fine folks in the industry, but downright “paranoid and crazy” in and of itself.

      As for the taking of your guns, it has happened in mass before. Throwing up a few states’ names and assuming those regional attitudes will defend against such tyranny is not always a sure thing. No one thought Louisianans would so easily give up hundreds of weapons either, but during Katrina all it took was government forcing such conditions in exchange for safe passage to emergency food, water, and shelter.

    6. “Second, I am NOT one decesion nor a thousand from having my weapons taken. What dumbass is going to give up his guns? Let ’em come to Kentucky and Texas and Wyoming and N. Carolina and just take ’em?”

      So how would you describe what happened during hurricane Katrina with the gun confiscations? Even if the scale of confiscations was overblown, the fact that there were any at all is a problem …. and I’m not so sure many people would really be willing to kill a friend/neighbor who’s just trying to do the job of enforcing a law/policy they were explicitly told to enforce (even if it’s not one they should be enforcing). …Granted if they come barging like it’s home invasion, then it’s highly likely bullets will fly — but a polite knock at the door with “appropriate” documentation of the order being answered with gun fire?

      Personally I’d rather work to ensure that things can’t get to that point without a lot of things going wrong or being undone ….which is all the more reason to get involved now and ensure the legal framework makes such a situation extremely difficult to happen because it’d be nearly impossible to do legally.

  6. I have one question for those who want to violate the 2nd Amendment and take away my AR-15. Do you want .223 or 5.56?

  7. It’s becoming pretty obvious that the judges in the 4th Circuit need to relearn some US history — and be removed from that body.

    After all, it should be pretty apparent that the US citizenry was fall better armed than the government when this country was created, given the initial Articles of Confederation didn’t really provide for properly maintaining a standing national army — and even our current Constitution has provisions for granting Letters of Marque and Reprisal …which essentially allow private citizens to independently carry out military actions on behalf of the nation (being privateers for example) — all of which would have been carried out with “military-style” weapons (actually I’d very comfortably wager that some private citizens were procuring weaponry far more advanced & capable that the government was supplying it’s forces at the time).

  8. Once again our courts are trying to take away from law-abiding citizens!!!! Ok ban the assault rifle an let’s see how many of those banned rifles end up in the hands of gangbangers an criminals cuz you all those scumbags really follow the law!! An if they do ban them we should also ban our law enforcement from having assult rifles… if I can’t protect myself neither should they!!! GOOD DAY to you all!!!!!

  9. The Heller decision is not what it’s cracked up to be. The Heller decision said that “weapons that are most useful in military service—M16 rifles and the like” could be banned. Can anyone read plain English? Several courts have said AR-15 can be banned. The new Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch has said he will uphold Heller. Get ready for your AR-15’s to be banned.

  10. But… “It’s only common sense” to disarm the law abiding prey and then wait for the lawless predators to run out of bullets.. .Right? Next up Maryland will bar homeowners from owning door locks… to end home invasions.

  11. Actually the Maryland law bans the purchase of all ar-15 style weapons except for HBAR. Why… don’t know. Still an unconstitutional law none the less. Not the first law in the old line state that fails on every imaginable front. Also FYI it is illegal to purchase an AK-47 rifle in the state of Maryland, however the mouth breathers in annapolis still say the AK-47 pistol variation can still be legally purchased ……. BRILLIANT!!!

  12. Where was the great and powerful NRA on this? Why did they not report this great NATIONAL setback to their supporters? Anyone who thinks this is limited to Maryland must think she is still one of the Thirteen Colonies.

    1. @ Charles morley,

      What do you mean by asking, “Where was the great and powerful NRA on this?” They said since you hadn’t paid any membership dues they couldn’t afford to support you on this particular case.

      Sarcasm aside, even if you are a faithful NRA member you still need to understand they can’t just simply take over any case they feel like. This lawsuit was obviously filed by a group that had already hired their own attorneys and included the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

      If it makes you feel any better, the NRA did fight for the right to successfully file an Amicus Curiae Brief so their member’s voices were forced to be heard by the judges even though it was not an NRA case.

  13. One day legislators will push too far and the people will push back. The legislators are just hoping to make it so that we cannot push back, but I think the people will make themsleves heard before then.

    1. Judges are the real problem. Laws passed by the legislature are meaningless. Judicial decisions have become the law of the law, because judges say so. No way exist short of anarchy to combat this problem. The King can do no wrong – so say the Kings.

  14. And this is the same state that just said they would be a SANCTUARY STATE just AFTER the RAPE of a 14 year old girl by 2 ILLEGAL ALIENS in the bathroom or one of THEIR PUBLIC SCHOOLS !!
    THE INMATES ARE RUNNING THE ASYLUM.

  15. If this goes to the supreme court it could open a can of worms. Judges aren’t supposed to legislate from the bench, the Constitution is on our side

    MOLON LABE.

  16. And like NY and Ct most people who own them will not turn them in and no one will be able to enforce the law except by putting their own life in jeopardy
    State Police in both states told the Governors they could not enforce the laws when they tried to have those weapons registered and between 90 to 95% of the owners did not. Anyone comes to take your guns in Maryland. Shoot them. Period..

    1. And then you’d end up in prison for the rest of your life. I’m not sure “shoot them” is the best answer.

    2. As far as I know no one has been arrested in either State for not registering their AR15’s, so no prison time on any mass scale that I am aware of. As far as shooting anyone that comes to take my guns, its only a bad idea if you believe it’s OK to violate someone’s Constitutional Rights and if you aren’t willing to stand up to what you believe in. I am a law abiding citizen, purchased every firearm I own legally, have never had a negative incident in a firearm. Therefore, you come to get my guns you get shot if you break down my door to do it or don’t prove to me ahead of time the specifics of the so called warrant. Period

    3. None of this changes the fact that if you shoot any form of law enforcement officer trying to do their job, you’re going to prison. If they don’t kill you first.

    4. @ Ken,

      Not true. You may go to jail or have to post a bond until things are sorted out, but shooting a law enforcement officer does not guarantee you prison if the officer violated your Constitutional Rights.

      Of the many examples of men walking free after having killed an officer over their Constitutional Right to bear arms is Ruby Ridge.

      This Country could never have been founded as a free society were it not for the brave men and women that stood their ground in the face of fascist officials that operated under the guise of “doing their jobs”.

      No one has the right to just waltz into your home and take your property without first showing you lawful justification for doing so. Aand until they do, you have every right to defend it and yourself.

      Maybe their knowledge that more citizens refuse to be sheep will give them pause before taking such draconian actions to begin with; because I’m not sure them shooting you “is the best answer” either.

      If everyone thought as you do, we’d never keep the government in check. After all, that is precisely what an armed society was intended to do. So if we just let them bulldoze right over us – well, then what’s the point of the Second Amendment in the first place?

      Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do, even if it means giving his life for what he knows to be right. The alternative is living like a mouse in an increasing world of totalitarian fear. That’s no life at all, so I know what my choice would be… Simply put, the Constitution as well as history sides with dprato’s school of thought on this one.

    5. Well said. People like Ken don’t get it or understand what is at stake. Thanks for the backup.

    6. Well I am 71 years old in great shape and if they are willing to go one for one that’s fine with me because no one is getting in without at least one of them getting shot, trust me. My place is like a fort with lots of surprises for any type of intruder. The only thing you are correct about is the possibility of getting killed but there have been many Americans who have died for what they believe in and why should I be any different. If that would not be your choice I respect that, but I don’t need you to keep telling me what the outcomes could possibly be. I am not brain dead nor am I afraid.

  17. This is potentially bad news for other parts of the country as well. My question is, does this action set a precedent for other circuit courts, particularly in more left leaning districts to follow the lead of the 4th circuit? Also, Gorsuch has not been confirmed yet to the Supreme Court. Do the Dems have a trick up their sleeve to prevent his confirmation if the Republicans vow to use the nuclear option? These are very tense times!

    1. Legally it only sets a precedent for courts under the Fourth Circuit appeals court. Other courts may cite the decision as legal cover even if it isn’t binding to them, but that doesn’t matter as much as you might think.

      Liberal courts determined to ban guns already bend precedents like Heller and McDonald to a point that would make a professional contortionist envious. The presence or absence of an appeals court precedent friendly to their agenda has been and will remain largely irrelevant.

    1. It’s becoming pretty obvious that the judges in the 4th Circuit need to relearn some US history — and be removed from that body.

      After all, it should be pretty apparent that the US citizenry was fall better armed than the government when this country was created, given the initial Articles of Confederation didn’t really provide for properly maintaining a standing national army — and even our current Constitution has provisions for granting Letters of Marque and Reprisal …which essentially allow private citizens to independently carry out military actions on behalf of the nation (being privateers for example) — all of which would have been carried out with “military-style” weapons (actually I’d very comfortably wager that some private citizens were procuring weaponry far more advanced & capable that the government was supplying it’s forces at the time).

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