|Photo by Bill Boylan, 2010 Rally at the Capital|
By Chris Lemos
A few hours ago, gun rights received a major boost with a favorable decision in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kolbe v. Hogan (formerly known as Kolbe v. O'Malley) is a case in Maryland very similar to our Shew v. Malloy here in CT. Both cases concern bans on so-called "assault weapons" and "Large Capacity Magazines". Both cases argue that the ban on "copies" of banned assault weapons is unconstitutionally vague. In both cases the courts failed to apply strict scrutiny, instead applying a lower standard.
Today the Court of Appeals issued its decision. They vacated the lower court's decision upholding the assault weapon ban and magazine limits, and returned them back to the District Court for failing to apply the required strict scrutiny under the 2nd Amendment. This means the case isn't over, but the state will now have a far more difficult chance to win.Strict scrutiny “requires the Government to prove that the restriction furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest” and that [t]o be narrowly tailored, the law must employ the least restrictive means to achieve the compelling government interest."
The lesser intermediate scrutiny merely "requires the government to 'demonstrate . . . that there is a reasonable fit between the challenged regulation and a substantial government objective.'”. Strict scrutiny should be a difficult standard for Maryland to satisfy.
This may set up a split decision among the various Federal Circuit Courts, which greatly increases the chances of the Supreme Court taking up ours or a similar case.
Speaking of our case, this will slightly delay our filing with the Supreme Court, as our legal team analyzes this ruling and adjusts our case to these new facts. Also, I must remind everyone that Supreme Court cases are VERY expensive. If you can afford to, please donate to our Litigation Fund. CCDL is an all volunteer organization, which means every donation goes right to the fight for your rights, not to pay our salaries, like some other organizations do. We are also a 100% free to join organization, which means everything we do comes from your generous donations. Please donate here: Litigation Fund
If you would like to read the entire 90 page decision, you can download it here: Kolbe v Hogan opinion (pdf)