Second Circuit To Hear Oral Arguments On Gun Lawsuit

Posted: December 11, 2014 by gamegetterII in anti-gun asshattery
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The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday will hear oral arguments in the case of Shew vs. Malloy, a legal challenge to the key provisions of Connecticut’s post-Newtown gun control legislation.
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The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of state gun owners, firearms dealers, and gun rights groups, seeks to overturn the assault weapons ban and the 10-round ammunition magazine limit that were enacted in 2013 as part of the legislature’s response to the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six educators using a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and high capacity ammunition magazines, both of which are illegal under the new law.

The law, which was described at the time of passage as the “toughest in the nation,” was upheld in federal court in Connecticut last January. U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello wrote in the decision that “while the act burdens the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control.”

The plaintiffs immediately appealed the decision. They argue in their complaint that the law is unconstitutionally vague, discriminatory, and infringes upon Second Amendment rights.

Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are commonly used in both shooting sports and self-defense, and thus subject to Second Amendment protection, the plaintiffs argue.

In a brief filed with the appeals court, the state countered that the law only bans “a small subset of firearms and large-capacity magazines that … are disproportionately selected by criminals for use in gun crime.”

The law’s broadened definition of an assault weapon and new limit on magazine size, the state argues, is related to “an important governmental interest in ending gun violence and death.”

The state argued that the law “leaves more than one thousand alternative firearms and magazines for law-abiding citizens to acquire and possess for self-defense.” Weapons like the AR-15, they argued, “have no utility for legitimate self-defense and are not actually used for such purposes in practice.”

The plaintiffs argue that the law is discriminatory because off-duty police and military personnel are exempt from the assault weapons ban and high-capacity ammunition magazine limit.

The definition of an assault weapon under the act is so vague that it leaves gun owners “without knowledge of what is prohibited,” plaintiffs argue.

Also on Tuesday, the Second Circuit will hear oral arguments in a separate challenge to the sweeping gun control package passed in New York in response to the Newtown massacre.

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