U.S. District Judge William Young has issued a major dismissal in a case closely followed by supporters of the Second Amendment. Judge Young ruled that the firearms and large magazines banned by Massachusetts in 1998 are “not within the scope of the personal right to ‘bear Arms’ under the Second Amendment.”
This ruling may have profound implications on other states’ efforts to restrict what kinds of guns may be legally owned by citizens.
The guns that were banned by the state are “designed and intended to be particularly suitable for combat rather than sporting applications,” Young wrote.
“Other states are equally free to leave them unregulated and available to their law-abiding citizens,” Young wrote. “These policy matters are simply not of constitutional moment. Americans are not afraid of bumptious, raucous, and robust debate about these matters. We call it democracy.”
“The lawsuit was filed last year by the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts,” The Hill writes, “who claimed the law infringed on their Second Amendment rights.”
Attorney General Maura Healey (D), celebrated the decision, saying it “vindicates the right of the people of Massachusetts to protect themselves from these weapons of war.”
“Strong gun laws save lives, and we will not be intimidated by the gun lobby in our efforts to end the sale of assault weapons and protect our communities and schools,” Healey wrote on Facebook statement. “Families across the nation should take heart in this victory.”
Some families across the nation, however, aren’t celebrating the decision. There’s no litmus test for sporting purposes, as Judge Young implies. Guns may be perfectly suited for the purposes of self-defense, have limited sporting applications, and still be perfectly legal–something Judge Young completely ignores in his ruling.
This is a major victory for those proponents of tighter restrictions on firearms. And it may just be the beginning. As The Hill notes: “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that he would support a federal ban on assault-style weapons.”