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

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. 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 and 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

Are you affected by the ban? Tell us what you think about this decision in the comment section.

76 Comments On This Article

  1. Theses Nazi style bans are not put to a statewide vote on a Nov. Ballot. The politicians stick to the urban areas where they are not dispised and use those constituents as the norm

  2. Timothy A Dunagan

    An AR15 is a rifle, plain and simple. Just as a musket was during our founding days. We have a right to protect ourselves with small arms available to us, against the enemy of the state, be he from without, or within. Our founding fathers died for that right, my Grandfather faught ears for those rights and my father faught for this right. I WILL NOT see it brought down by the fleeting feelings of today’s PC world. Stand true to the bill of rights. Preserve our Constitution.

      • A Maryland Lawyer

        No, this is why citizens from ALL STATES pay good money to organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) to protect our Second Amendment rights. Only, where has the NRA been in the fight to protect its Maryland member’s rights? Obviously, they were unable to lobby the Democrat-controlled Maryland General Assembly sufficiently to persuade its members not to enact such anti-Second Amendment laws or to convince an appellate court that they were wrong!

  3. Embarrassed to be a Maryland resident. Maybe the feds can make some changes. Election of a Republican Governor sure doesn’t seem to have helped.

  4. A Maryland Lawyer

    Maryland’s laws are “befuddling” and seemingly unreasonable for several reasons… First, it is my understanding that only AR-15 pattern rifles in ..223/5.56 mm are banned by the statute. Other calibers, such as .308 Win., etc., are considered “hunting rifles” and are NOT within the prohibition. Is any particular caliber more or less dangerous?
    Maryland’s “Draconian” gun laws have NOT had a provable positive effect of reducing homicides in Baltimore City when that is exactly its stated purpose. Each year the Homicide death toll in Baltimore City crests above 300, and each one occurs without the involvement of an evil AR-15-type rifle.
    Finally, the only obvious effect of Maryland’s unique and restrictive gun laws has been to chase several gun manufacturers, and MANY pro-2nd Amendment citizens, to states outside of Maryland’s boundaries. The employer/gun company monster Beretta moved to Tennessee. Many citizens moved northward up I-83 into nearby Pennsylvania. Soon the large defense company LWRCI will likely review its position and leave Maryland’s eastern shore taking many jobs with it.
    Yes, Maryland has been affected by the “gun ban,” but not in a way to reduce crime or benefit its citizens…!

  5. It’s not a complete ban. As a Maryland resident we cannot have specific features, such as barrel lengths less than 16 inches, folding sticks that still allow you to fire while folded, or barrels formed to allow a grenade launcher to be fitted into the gun. Also limited to 10 round mags purchased in the state, but you can own them if you purchase them out of state.

    It’s a pain, but we are working around it.

    • A Maryland Lawyer

      The above information is partially incorrect. You have to purchase a “regulated firearm” within your state of residence under the law. An AR-15 is a “regulated firearm under the law. Maryland law prohibits the purchase of “AR-15 pattern rifles” in .223/5.56mm caliber. Therefore, Maryland residents are prohibited from purchasing an AR-15 rifle in .223/5.56mm caliber. An out-of-state FFL would be required to ship the AR-15 to your in-state Maryland FFL and he/she would be prohibited from transferring it to a Maryland resident.

      No one, from any state, can own/possess a “short-barrelled rifle” without applying for, paying, and receiving a BATF tax stamp for such a regulated firearm. This is not unique to Maryland, but is federal law covering the citizens of all 50 states.

  6. it all starts in a state so you cant own an ar15, you have new york, ct ,maryland,where you cant own them.thiis has to stop.take for example .im left handed and live in ct also left handed. i cant buy left upper but cant get left lower.

    • Im Texan an got my first ccw in Ct in 1988 while living in New haven. Im sad Ct has gone to the dark side, I have friends there and in sad for them. Please vote the anticonstituionist out of there an restore your protection rights.

  7. I wish someone would enlighten people of just what to hell and “Assault Rifle” really is…. This conversation is moot until a definition is set in place and not bent to meet a “need”,

    Thank you very much…

    • An “assault rifle” is any rifle used to “assault” another person! Assault is an action using whatever you choose to inflict harm upon another! Fist, hammer, rolling pin, baseball bat, rock, jaw bone of an ass, knife, club, these are ALL “assault weapons” if used to assault another. Liberals try to assign that term to AR (NOT “assault” but Armalite Rifle) pattern rifles.

  8. When reading the 2ndAmendment,I can’t seem to find any descciptive means of types of protection Americans have in their inalienable rights,not even any bone heads right to interpret.l guess our fore Father’s meant,As Written !

    • In United States v. Miller (1939), the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government and the states could limit any weapon types not having a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” If I’m understanding that correctly, the only type of weapons that the states CAN NOT regulate are those which can have military application such as the AR-15 and clones. I’m not a fan of the M-16 having carried one for a few years after turning in my M-14 which I considered to be a real rifle but I understand that lots of people (including lots of girls but not Gersh Kuntzman) enjoy shooting the Matty Mattel.

      • A Maryland Lawyer

        I agree with your interpretation of US v. Miller. Our nation’s forefathers, who drafted the Second Amendment, intended to guarantee a citizen’s right to possess a firearm to protect him/her FROM AN OPPRESSIVE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT. It was not drafted to guarantee our right to “hunt.” Therefore, in today’s context, it does not matter if you have the right to possess a black powder flintlock. It is outdated and laughable as a defense weapon. It is your right to possess a legitimate, modern defensive weapon, such as an AR-15, is what an oppressive government would be afraid of a citizen possessing.

        Therefore, without ever knowing what an AR-15 was, the drafters of the Constitution must have intended to protect a citizen’s right to possess any weapon which could be used to protect themselves from an oppressive government. The Second Amendment was drafted to guarantee you rights to possess just such firearms as the AR-15 as lesser firearms would likely not provide such protection from tyranny.

  9. Flawed thinking. Throughout history the US government either gave outright or sold “weapons of war” to our citizens after various wars. I would think that action indicates approval from our government for US citizens to possess “weapons of war”.

    To have these “judges” fabricate the law is beyond their authority.

    • Today you have a bunch of sissies running our government that never hunted, handled a gun or never served in the military. Most are lawyers, doctors or straight out politicians

      • Might argue with your “straight” out politicians. Don’t think some of ’em are all that straight, taken any way you want.

  10. I heard Gail King of CBS state that our Forfathers meant muskets for arms when they wrote the Second Amendment to the Constitution. In that case, then the First Amendment, infringing freedom of the press meant that we cannot use television or radio, to convey the news but only hand presses like the one that was used to print the Constitution.

    • What does Gail know anyway, just like her BIG tv friend Oprah…nothing! I get more than a little tired of hearing all these people that are more than ready to tell other people how to live and what they should do and not do. I think they should practice what ever life style they wish but leave the rest of us alone.

    • First off, welcome home Viet Vet… God Bless you and thank you for your service. You are so right and I have said the same things myself. Also, when there were Model A and Model T cars, States started creating “laws” for automobile use…well, there were no mustangs, cameros or other muscle cars capable of the speeds those cars could not do. Libtards are just blind dumb sheep. GO ARMY!!!

  11. So I live in maryland and own these so called assault style weapons…. does this ruling make me a criminal now? BTW….these weapons are still being sold as long as the have a HB. This is a wortless holdover from Tha POS omally.

  12. So here’s a thought. While I don’t believe that the supreme Court case “Miller vs the united States” ended in a constitutional verdict, it did in fact end in the conclusion that the government does not have the authority to ban weapons that would be effective for militia use. So going simply off of that ruling, the Maryland Court ruled directly against the supreme Court in upholding a ban on one of the most commonly used rifles in the US military, which would lead to the conclusion that it is without a doubt a rifle that would be used effectively by a militia. When gun control first started with the NFA, the argument was that non military weapons aren’t needed for a militia and therefore are free game for regulation. Now the argument is that no one needs military style weapons. Anyone care to explain the logic to me?

  13. This “decision” opens the floodgates for more infringements on our God given right to self defense. We cannot get a conservative justice added to the SCOTUS soon enough!

    • What will happen is if they cant ban them from personal ownership they will go after the companies with regulations and drive them out of business.

  14. When the Revolutionary War was being fought, EVERY firearm was, in essence, an ‘Assault’ firearm.
    Had that been the Law at that time, there would have NOT been a Revolutionary War. The people would have been un-armed and subject to those who had firearms.
    The obvious fact of the intent of the 2nd Amendment, was to assure the citizenry had the means to protect itself from ALL enemies, be they foreign or domestic.
    “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED…” is a definitive statement – just like “You’re Fired” leaves NO question as to its intent, which should be the case for those who would deny us that Right.
    Congress MUST pass a Law that permits the removal of ANYONE who attempts to infringe on ANY of OUR RIGHTS – be they elected or appointed to office, including Judges.

    • Don, well written. Leaders in our country take an oath of office to uphold and defend the US Constitution. If they violate this they should automatically be removed and not allow to run for public office anywhere in the US. If any person or group want to change the 2nd amendment as it is written, then there is a procedure in the Constitution for this process. This is the way to ensure that no person or small group would have this control. If any of the Justices on the Supreme Court want to question the intent of the wording or meaning of the 2nd amendment, they can easily review the Federalist Papers where this is in defining words by our Forefathers.

  15. Let’s see the last I new a simi-automatics were not assault weapons, full automatic s are, there must be some people that are trying to make us believe that the way a weapon looks make it an assault weapon. Coming media get the facts right.

  16. I moved to a FREE state where we can exercise our 2nd rights fully. Backyard shooting ranges everywhere, almost no ‘unarmed victim zone’ signs, open & concealed carry common.

  17. Loves guns and America

    I live next to the three comi states of NJ,NY,and Merryland.So grateful I can carry almost anywhere in PA.So sorry for the citizens of these three who live out in the country where the Demicraps don’t yet rule.I can take my AR and SKS shooting every weekend

  18. Banning weapons because they are scary looking is ridiculous. Many wars were fought without black guns that had pistol grips and banana clips (ie: dropping in 11 rounds from the top). I personally prefer the way a gun handles without that big magazine in the way.

    Unfortunately in government is always making decision based on perception of the uninformed, and will not take the time to do balance research.

  19. They have introduced an assault weapon ban in my state, but in the unlikely event it passed, existing guns are grandfathered in, but couldn’t be sold.
    I believe that if the government was to take away your property they would need to compensate you for it. I don’t know if that is true or not.

  20. Trump had better get his Supreme Court Justice confirmed soon before this or any other important matters get to the court and with a split court become the law of the nation.

  21. What happens to the people and their guns who already owned those guns before the ban? Do they have to turn their banned weapons in? Do they have to destroy their banned weapons? More depth into if they are grandfathered in or not would be helpful.

  22. “The bad news, though, is that Marylanders just lost a little more of their Second Amendment rights.”
    They didn’t lose their rights,,,they permitted them to be illegally taken away. Maryland didn’t give them the ‘Right’ therefor Maryland cannot take the right away.

  23. I live in Tennessee. Tennessee is an open carry state. I have my CWL and proudly carry everywhere I go. Every time I order or purchase a gun , ammo, or gun parts or supplies, I read the names California, NY, NJ, Mass., the District of Columbia, and the city of Chicago and others on the prohibited or illegal list, I shake my head in amazement. I think, “how did the citizens and residents of these states and cities allow these anti-rights anti-freedom politicians take over their cities and states?”. I feel sorry for unprotected living in Chicago and the unfortunate people of Commiefornia that want to own a gun but can’t. I then think, if the citizens wanting their gun rights back are the same ones that kept reelecting these evil anti-American politiciams i.e. Pelosi, Boxer, Fienstein, Schumer, then they are idiots and to blame for their current predicament.

  24. “…Supreme Court in the next few years.” That is not acceptable! All American legal gun owners need to squawk long and loud until this breach of rights is corrected. I thought the 9th Circuit was bad. This is outrageous.

  25. State of Washington is next. Our attorney general loves illegal aliens, but hates the Second Amendment. He believes a ban on assault weapons is constitutional. All this because a young murderer purchased a AR15 and killed his ex-girlfriend, two others and wounded more. The father of one of the survivors places all the blame on the gun and the AG is right there with him. The AG has already tried to push it through the state legislature, but it went nowhere. The new tactic is to put it to the people. Unfortunately the pussy socialists in this God forsaken state out number those of us whose families came to the Oregon territory as pioneers to make their own way.


    Move to a “freestate” like Wyoming. “We don’t need no steenkin’ permits”! And we can have N.F.A. toys, here. Air is clean, land is cheap and only 500,000 people in the whole state! and speed limits are higher. And cops are cool; they are very laid back.

  27. So when the people needs to form a militia to protect themselves from a corrupt government or a foreign enemy they must go to that government and request so called assault weapons to fight them with.

  28. “On every occasion [of Constitutional interpretation] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying [to force] what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, [instead let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, 12 June 1823

  29. “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

  30. “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

  31. “To disarm the people…[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them.”
    – George Mason, referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adooption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788

  32. “I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.”
    – George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788

  33. “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops.”
    – Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787

  34. “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
    – Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788

  35. “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.”
    – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 28

  36. “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
    – Tench Coxe, Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789

  37. Enough quotes. Let there be no doubt as to what the intentions of the founding fathers were. Any judge or court of judges or politicians that vote against our God given Constitutional rights, is in violation of their oath of office and in violation of the supreme law of our land!

  38. Everyone said “Sure glad I am not in California”, but it all starts somewhere and then moves on across the nation. People we have to stand together, we can not say glad I am not from there any more. We have to stand together, stand tough, vote and vote for candidates that protect our rights and get rid of the ones that don’t.

  39. As long as the media continues to misrepresent these firearms as “assault rifles” I will refer to the media as “propaganda disseminating, mind control devices!”

  40. I was offered an opportunity to take a high-paying management position in Maryland recently. I politely declined and when asked why, I explained that Maryland is one of the least free states in the union, and I wouldn’t live anywhere where my 2nd Amendment rights were infringed to such a degree as there. My answer was met with stunned silence. They need to hear this over and over – they want to subvert the Constitution, they shouldn’t be surprised that freedom-loving people want to have nothing to do with their state.

  41. We only need our guns to protect our right to own guns. If the group that doesn’t want us to have guns didn’t try to take them away, we wouldn’t need guns. But they are trying very hard to take them away which proves we need them. If they stopped trying to take them, we wouldn’t need them- if fact many of us would stop buying them. But because they keep trying we keep buying. This cycle has been occurring since before the Revolutionary War. Which is why we had guns. Stop the British from taking our guns. Taxing us. Telling us what can and can’t do. Becoming the United States- because we had guns.

  42. The libtards are in it for the long game. Little by little they take away your rights by passing small laws in the middle of the night. They are no better then terrorists that hide their faces with masks. Fight them any way you can, and if all else fails ignore the socialist laws. Why do you all think we have a socite of snowflakes now. They are being taught from kindergarden. Raise your children to understand what our constitution means

  43. michael rohrbaugh

    I just finished a second amendment law class, and I swear it said “Shall not be infringed.”, not by the UN, the states or the feds.

  44. When you have the courts packed with liberals that twist the Constitution to bend to their group think this is the result. The Supreme Court is supposed to be the definitive arbiter that upholds the Constitution. The fact that there are members of the court that are not strict adherents to these principles shows how far off course the country has gone.