The daily barrage of bad news for the 2nd Amendment has been interrupted – and even though we have a long way to go – especially here in California – we’re going to at least pop some moderately priced champagne…
In a 2-1 decision, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Kolbe v. Maryland that the lower, federal district court used an inappropriate level of scrutiny with regard to the banning of assault weapons. This is good news.
GOC believes that there are actually 4 levels of judicial reasoning or standards of review that the courts should consider when hearing Constitutional cases, [including rational basis (the lowest level – which means “anything goes” as long as you can come up with any form of justification), intermediate scrutiny (obvious-balancing government interests against the violation of the Constitutional right), strict scrutiny (in most cases the highest level of examination, signifying whether it burdens a core right) and the fourth (and one that is very rarely used) is adherence to Constitutional text (hmmm, applying the actual text of the Constitution without balancing tests)], the 4th Circuit Court ruled that this case should have been considered by the lower court under strict scrutiny. The Court’s reasoning was sound for the majority of the opinion. We do, however, disagree with their interpretation based on 14th Amendment “equal protection” issues but that does not diminish that this is a favorable ruling that could have wide implications for California’s laws in the future. And to reiterate: we still have a long way to go but we will take a win every day of the week and twice on Sundays!
The Maryland Attorney General is deciding whether to call for an en banc review of the case (and we know how long that could take) or challenge it to SCOTUS.
Read the 4th Circuit’s ruling here.