In their Heller decision, the Supreme Court provided a test to determine whether a firearm is protected under the Second Amendment and therefore cannot be banned. The sole criteria: whether a firearm is “in common usage.” The court didn’t define what “common usage” means, but I’m guessing that the AR-15 rifle — of which millions have been sold in the last couple years alone — meets that definition. Andrew Cuomo, however, disagrees . . .
From Human Events:
The Empire State governor seeks dismissal of complaint filed by the state’s largest firearm association which alleges that the New York Secure Ammunition Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 is unconstitutional.
“The state filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, a dismissal, and for summary judgment,” said Stephen P. Halbrook PhD, a Second Amendment legal scholar and lead counsel for plaintiff in the matter of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, et al. v. Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, et al.
The state’s motion says that assault weapons are unusually dangerous military-style firearms and are not in common use. It also alleges that New York’s bans on assault weapons do not even implicate plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights, because such weapons are not within the scope of the Second Amendment.
As we know, “assault weapons” are used in somewhere around 2% of crimes. Handguns, on the other hand, are massively popular among criminals. Yet the Supreme Court ruled that handguns (the more dangerous weapon) are in sufficiently common usage as to be exempt from Washington, D.C.’s gun ban laws.
If a handgun meets the criteria for protection under the Second Amendment, there’s little doubt that “assault rifles” — used far less often with criminal intent — will get the same treatment. Eventually. Maybe not from a New York judge, but this is one of those cases that I’d be surprised if we didn’t see it on the SCOTUS’s docket for the next session.
The next hearing on the case is scheduled for August 29th. Stay tuned.