FPC to SCOTUS: MA Ban on Semi-Auto Firearms & Standard Capacity Magazines is Unconstitutional

worman v healey assault weapons

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of an important Supreme Court brief in the case of Worman v. Healey,  a challenge to Massachusetts’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “large-capacity” firearm magazines. The brief is available online at FPCLegal.org.

“In holding that the Second Amendment protects arms ‘in common use’ in D.C. v. Heller,  the Supreme Court made clear that the Amendment reserves to the people, rather than the government, the decision of which arms the people may select for self-defense and other lawful purposes,” explained FPC Director of Research and brief author, Joseph Greenlee. “By taking that decision away from the people and banning some of the most popular arms in the nation, Massachusetts violated Supreme Court precedent and the fundamental, pre-existing right protected by the Second Amendment.”

FPC was joined by amici organizations Cato Institute, Firearms Policy Foundation, California Gun Rights Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Madison Society Foundation, and Independence Institute. Joining Greenlee as co-authors on the brief were David Kopel, law professor at the University of Denver and Research Director at the Independence Institute, and Ilya Shapiro, director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute.

FPC is engaged in several other challenges to bans on constitutionally protected arms, including Miller v. Becerra, a lawsuit seeking to declare California’s “assault weapon” ban unconstitutional and enjoin its enforcement as to most common semi-automatic firearms.

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)(4) grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to defend the People’s rights—especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.

Background

  • Massachusetts bans many of the most popular semi-automatic firearms in the country, characterizing them as “assault weapons.”

  • Massachusetts also bans standard magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, characterizing them as “large-capacity feeding devices.”

  • The Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller (2008), held that the Second Amendment protects arms “in common use.”

  • Evidence in the case showed that Americans own over 114,700,000 of the banned magazines, and tens of millions of the banned arms.

  • Despite being among the most common arms in America, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the prohibition, concluding that the government’s interest in banning the arms outweighed the People’s interest in owning them.

  • Several other federal circuit courts have reached similar conclusions, under a variety of different tests. The Supreme Court, however, has not yet ruled on an“assault weapon” or “large-capacity magazines” ban.

  • FPC and its fellow amici filed this brief requesting that the Supreme Court hear this case to determine whether the government can prohibit law-abiding Americans from possessing some of the most popular arms in the country.

comments

  1. avatar pwrserge says:

    Come on SCotUS… I would LOVE to see cert granted in this case. This would put a nail in the coffin of the US gun control movement. They would no longer be able to ban weapons outright.

    1. avatar Dude says:

      Then they would be working toward making you register each firearm, so they know where to go whenever they’re able to pack the court someday.

      1. avatar HP says:

        Registration of assault rifles was a disaster in New York, with an estimated compliance rate of about 5%. Not saying they wouldn’t try, but this type of thing doesn’t work. At least not with guns already purchased.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          There’s an entire paragraph in the article mentioning FPC’s fight against our AW laws here in CA.

          Don’t throw rocks in a glass house.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Oops. Sorry, HP. Meant to reply to someone else further down. Disregard.

      2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “Then they would be working toward making you register each firearm,…”

        A good thing Kav, in an earlier opinion pre-SCOTUS, wrote registration is unconstitutional.

        That’s gonna be necessary to cool their enthusiasm for grabbing guns, along with ensuring 80 percent firearms remain legal…

  2. avatar AlanInFL says:

    And finally someone is going to challenge a very bad law.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      And let’s clarify the error in the article. “Assault weapons” aren’t outright banned in CA. You can own them, but you must register them with an AW classification, which tacks on additional storage and transport requirements. It also gets you a nice gold star next to your name in the State’s database so they can visit your house first upon the next round of gun control laws passed by our clown circus of a legislature in Sacramento.

      1. avatar UpInArms says:

        Error? What error?

        The suit is challenging MA laws, not CA laws. Go back and read a little more carefully.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          There’s an entire paragraph in the article mentioning FPC’s fight against our AW laws here in CA.

          Don’t throw rocks in a glass house.

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        I Haz a Question,

        It also gets you a nice gold star next to your name in [California’s] database …

        Versus a yellow 6-point star that you must wear on your clothing in public.

        Government databases of demographics (rather than databases of violent criminals who have actually attacked people) never lead to anything good.

    2. avatar cmac890 says:

      The law is bad. No argument there. What’s worse though, was Healey’s bs proclamation that the explicit legal definitions written into the law were not what lawmakers intended, and her subsequent ban on MA-compliant rifles based entirely on her whim instead.

      It’s too bad our governor has a spine made out of pudding. I’d love to see her driven out of office over that one.

      1. MA GOV. /Charile “The Barker” Baker, is another Globalist RINO…He might as well be a Demo- Authoritarian….He never been a supporter of [email protected], HASN’T even attempted to restore any [email protected] rights back to MA residents. The local police chiefs still “LORD” over a citizens constitutional rights. Me personally, I’d like to see each and every one of these “Authoritarian” politicians, police agent tossed into prison for serious constitutional infringements, and deprivation of Rights under color of law…

  3. avatar MIO says:

    It will never get heard just like all the others

    1. avatar Paul says:

      Don’t be such a pessimist. Heller made it through the court, didn’t it?

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “It will never get heard just like all the others”

      ‘Heller’ and ‘McDonald’ were heard and ruled in our favor, and ‘NY Pistol’ is heard in little over one month’s time, ruling to be announced next June…

  4. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Ok, let’s play a guessing game….

    Which nationally recognized “gun rights” organization is not listed in the amici group listing?

    Huh? Which one?

    Give ya’ three guesses.

    Huh? Which one?

    1. avatar Phil Wilson says:

      I noticed that too. I was patient with them for a long time. The latest thing with Tom King nails it. They are officially off my donation list for now. It sure looks like my donations will have greater impact elsewhere, so elsewhere they go.

    2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Speaking of which, I received the latest issue of American Rifleman yesterday, even though I allowed my NRA membership to expire months ago. I noticed that the mag now only has one single page containing the “small ads”. Two years ago, the publication had several pages’ worth. In fact, that’s where I first saw a Polymer80 ad, which led to me buying and building several. Now most of them are absent (P80, MechTech, etc.), and the section has shriveled down to only a single page for companies that don’t even catch my eye. I wonder if the mag raised its rates and priced them out.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “I wonder if the mag raised its rates and priced them out.”

        When an organization loses revenue, the knee-jerk reaction is to raise prices for the product. Working to build market is almost the last thing considered.

        But maybe, the venue is considered no longer important/useful to many of the prior advertisers.

      2. avatar Dave G. says:

        @ I Haz A Question:
        I’m saving that issue. It has a big picture of Wayne LaPierre that I’m going to cut out and put on my dart board, since that is the only satisfaction I’m likely to get out of the whole NRA mess.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          LOL, after reading your comment, I literally went into my trash can and fished out the mag to do exactly that. Good idea.

  5. avatar DaveL says:

    While I absolutely agree that AR-15s and the like are “in common use for lawful purposes” and thus should be protected under Heller, that test is really an awful bit of jurisprudence. Obviously, what is now in common use was not always so, and only came into common use because they were not banned. One can easily see how this line of thinking, while it may not restrict 21st- century Americans to 18th-century arms, could certainly be applied to restrict future Americans to 21st-century arms.

    1. avatar Biatec says:

      Yep. Dead on.

    2. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “One can easily see how this line of thinking, while it may not restrict 21st- century Americans to 18th-century arms, could certainly be applied to restrict future Americans to 21st-century arms.”

      Would think that if Heller did not restrict “common use” to a specific time frame, and indeed indicated that “common use” was not restricted to muskets and weapons at the time of the founding, it would be a similarly weak argument going forward that “common use” restricts weapons introduced after Heller.

      The major problem with “common use” is that accepting weapons bans will put certain firearm types into a box. If weapons are banned, they are no longer in common use. This is the logical fallacy of the NFA being cited as tradition/history/precedent. SCOTUS accepted NFA legislation as constitutional. Machine guns are tightly regulated, and no new machine guns are allowed to be imported/produced. Thus, by SC edict, machine guns are not in common use, because the SC made them not be in common use. Truly circular logic.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        My interpretation of Heller is that the “in common use” doctrine is mere dicta; it is not part of the holding. That is to say, I don’t see “in common use” was reasoning essential to the conclusion that Heller gets his gun.

        It’s an edge case as to whether “in common use” is dicta or holding. Future SCOTUSs could see it either way, depending upon their preferred outcome.

        We can easily imagine that a liberal SCOTUS would see “in common use” as critical to maintaining the machinegun ban; or, a ban on a practical laser weapon. If so, such a liberal SCOTUS would hold that machineguns or laser weapons are not in common use and a statute banning them IS Constitutional.

        Conversely, a SCOTUS that wanted to uphold the 2A – or one which was honest about the circular reasoning of the “in common use” doctrine – could dismiss “in common use” and replace it with some other doctrine (such as “reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”).

        Precisely which artifacts are 2A “arms” is a difficult question. I can’t imagine a court eager to find that an assassin has a 2A right to keep and bear a garotte because that artifact is an “arm”.

        Conversely, I can easily imagine a court finding that an AR-15 type of firearm or a 30-round magazine DOES have a “reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”. Such a holding would be obvious under Miller and a plain reading of the militia clause of the 2A. An ordinary citizen with an AR-15 and a 30-round magazine is “like” a member of the regular armed forces with an M-16 in the same way as a militiaman with a musket was “like” a redcoat with a musket.

        Any weapon that seems highly suited for self-defense should also pass muster under a Heller or Caetano doctrine. So, even if handguns or stun-guns were not deemed particularly well suited to a “reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia”, they should be found to be 2A “arms” under a self-defense doctrine.

        We should not be misled into thinking that there can be but a singular doctrine for defining 2A “arms”. There may be many doctrines. At the same time, we should not be arguing that legislatures have no power to ban or regulate weapons – such as the garotte – for which practical usages are overwhelmingly for common law criminal purposes.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          All weapons are weapons. All weapons are “arms”. All arms are protected under the Second Amendment. A garrote is a weapon, and is protected. The criminal/illegal misuse of any weapon/arm is subject to laws of criminality. So…yes, an assassin has a 2A protected right to a garrote. Said assassin has no Second Amendment protection when using the garrote to harm another person, and may be constitutionally separated from the garrote. Under the long standing laws of the nation, an assassin is guilty of nothing unless and until adjudicated a criminal. An undetected assassin remains just like any other citizen, in full protection of all human, civil, and natural rights.

          The very idea that the federal government has a delegated authority control the weapons to be used to keep the federal government from imposing tyranny is itself ludicrous (so far).

    3. avatar Mark H says:

      Common USE is NOT part of ANY test in Heller. It’s part of the “dicta”, i.e. the background and reasoning whereby Scalia wrote the opionion. It is NOT part of the actual rulling.

    4. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Obviously, what is now in common use was not always so, and only came into common use because they were not banned.”

      They came into common use *because* they were banned, and the ban was allowed to expire. (Thank Bush 2 again!).

      The Leftists have no one to blame but themselves. If they weren’t so hot-to-trot to ban them in 1994, it’s possible the AR platform would not have been as popular. But, noooooooooooooooooo! They just had to ban them, *instantly* making them desirable when the ban expired.

      You would think they would have learned from the last time they outright banned something, alcohol. It made it more popular than ever…

  6. avatar Johnny Bullets says:

    That bitch in Massachusetts needs, well a bitch slap.

    1. avatar MouseGun says:

      She looks like a combination of every cunty HR woman rolled into one unpleasant package.

  7. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    IF you really want to wig out the left refer them to the actual decision of Roe v. Wade wherein Justice Stewart quotes Justice Harlan on the Second Amendment when he equates the right of abortion to the right to keep and bear arms. Tell the dummies if they get rid of the 2nd they will destroy part of the argument for maintaining Roe. Research can reveal the INTERESTING information and imagination can make use of it.

    1. avatar Daniel says:

      Abortion and guns are, for some reason, the caduceus of U.S. politics, increasingly mentioned in the same breath; twin serpents forever entwined in a venomous spiral. Each side makes the same argument in reverse on the two issues, and not just generically, but in fine-point detail.
      Consider …
      THE VIDEOS: non-NICS sales at gun shows — lunch discussing fetal parts
      THE MONSTERS: Gosnell — Paddock
      THE FOLK DEVIL: Planned Parenthood — NRA
      THE EXTREME CASE: Late Term — AK w/100 rd drum
      THE REDUCTIO: “Crowning” — Machine Gun
      THE HARRASMENT: Waiting periods — waiting periods
      THE ANTI-PROHIBITION TRUMP CARD: RU-486 — 3D printing

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Nice comparison chart.

      2. avatar Jr says:

        So what I’m hearing from you both is that since I’m pro gun rights and pro abortion rights I’m the most intellectually consistent of all.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          No, it means you wish to protect yourself without interference, while denying the most innocent among us the same. That’s the most selfish combination of them all.

        2. avatar cmac890 says:

          Jr didn’t say he wasn’t selfish. Just intellectually consistent. Checks out to me.

        3. avatar LIAMD34 says:

          Except when you consider that one is a constitutionally protected right, and the other is a crime against humanity.

      3. avatar Miner49er says:

        Nice imagery, and I really like your analogy.

        I’m not sure if I agree with all the details but it is still an insightful look at the cultural underpinnings that transcend place and time.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “… it is still an insightful look at the cultural underpinnings that transcend place and time.”

          Like, wow, man!

          Can I have some from your bag? 😉

      4. avatar Levs says:

        Guns and abortion are similar because they destroy a life while allowing a person to live to see tomorrow the same way they survived the day before. The difference is that with a gun you kill a criminal because he intends to kill you. With an abortion you kill a piece of yourself because you lack self control (Which is why abortion due to rape is more acceptable).

    2. avatar Dude says:

      Interesting point, but the Roe v. Wade argument is weak all around. For one thing, there is zero language in the Constitution about having the right to abort a baby. It was always a stretch, and a fine example of activist judges legislating from the bench. If you want abortion, then make a specific law allowing it. On the other hand, there is very specific language about having the right to bear arms.

      1. avatar Miner49er says:

        “If you want abortion, then make a specific law allowing it.”

        The philosophy is that all things are permitted, unless expressly for bidden.

        And the Judeo Christian Bible says that man did not become a living soul until God breathed the breath of life into him.

        1. avatar Dude says:

          1. Murder is definitely forbidden here.

          2. We don’t live in a theocracy, but it’s hilarious how the left loves quoting scripture when it’s convenient for them.

        2. avatar Miner49er says:

          Is masturbation murder, Hey every sperm spilt to the ground has the potential to become a human being.

          Every egg in the menstrual cycle has the potential to become a human being.

          Every zygote formed from a sperm fertilize the egg has the potential to become a human being.

          Tell you what, y’all don’t tell me what I can do with my sperm and I won’t be telling anybody what they can do with their eggs.

        3. avatar pwrserge says:

          Hey commie redneck, how’s your trailer park doing this afternoon?

          The reality is that you don’t get to decide what is and is not a human being. We kicked that bullshit out of you with the first GOP president.

          The “right” of the mother to avoid minor inconvenience is trumped by the right to her baby to continue living. She put the baby there, she can deal with the consequences. Don’t want kids? Don’t be a whore.

        4. avatar Dude says:

          “Is masturbation murder, Hey every sperm spilt to the ground has the potential to become a human being.”

          Now you’re just being silly. Stop masturbating and ask your mom how babies are made.

        5. avatar Steve says:

          Your knowledge of the “Judeo Christian Bible” is woefully lacking.

        6. avatar Miner49er says:

          “She put the baby there, she can deal with the consequences. Don’t want kids? Don’t be a whore.”

          Oh, so the man had nothing to do with it whatsoever? And the woman is a whore but you have no condemnation for the man involved?

          Yes, I bet you get laid a lot.

        7. avatar Miner49er says:

          “Your knowledge of the “Judeo Christian Bible” is woefully lacking.”

          Do you have any particular information to justify your assertion, or is it nearly empty speech.

        8. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          @Miner,

          Oh, here we go again. Trying to spout your oh-so-ignorant nonsense about a faith you don’t even have or share.

          ****
          “And the Judeo Christian Bible says that man did not become a living soul until God breathed the breath of life into him.”
          ****
          So, then, by your logic, his son Jesus wasn’t even a living soul while in Mary’s womb? It would have been morally acceptable by God’s standard to kill the pre-born Jesus, since you believe there was no soul or moral value to His life? Was there no value to your own life while your mama was baking you in her oven?

        9. avatar LIAMD34 says:

          @Miner49er,

          “Is masturbation murder, Hey every sperm spilt to the ground has the potential to become a human being.”

          Congratulations on making the dumbest argument on the internet today. It’s early, still possible that someone might say something dumber, but you’ve set the bar pretty high.

        10. avatar Anymouse says:

          Every sperm is sacred
          Every sperm is great
          If a sperm is wasted
          God gets quite irate

        11. avatar SoBe says:

          Human beings are diploid organisms. Germ cell, sperm and ova, are haploid cells. Until and if parthenogenesis can be demonstrated in humans, neither sperm nor ova are solely capable of producing human life. For now it is ok to throw that used condom (or tissue if you belong to a religious group that bans birth control) or tampon in the proper trash receptacles without guilt of murder.
          Now, dropping a multicellular diploid organism of human origin into that hazardous waste receptacle, that is different.

        12. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “If a sperm is wasted
          God gets quite irate”

          Isn’t it nice there’s a ‘Python’ quote for all occasions?

          *snicker* 😉

        13. avatar TonyL says:

          Abortion is taking a life. Any argument otherwise is PC doublespeak. It’s the ultimate in selfishness to say a woman’s rights to spread her legs for pleasure and then kill the created life because it’s her right to spread her legs for pleasure, not procreation.

        14. [email protected] WATCH OUT! If you go solo, you could go blind !!! And if YOUR expecting MA AG. Maura Healey to give YOU a “Handy”….Your sadly out of luck…I believe she likes strong Wahman….

  8. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    “The Supreme Court made clear that the Amendment reserves to the people, rather than the government, the decision of which arms the people may select for self-defense and other lawful purposes,”

    Any and all arms a person may want,with No government/the crowns permission is what the 2 nd. says followed by the warning to the government/crown,”Shall Not Be Infringed.”

    1. avatar Neil says:

      Agreed. Now stop CA!

  9. avatar Stateisevil says:

    LOL. Cert denied or law upheld.

  10. avatar enuf says:

    Favorable Supreme Court rulings are vital to our gun rights but do not imagine for a moment that the hoplophobes will simply lay down and give up. They will continue to pass anti-gun laws, attempt to work around court decisions or ignore them entirely.

  11. avatar 2aguy says:

    I would like to see Trump appoint 2 more Justices before they take this case……one to replace ginsburg, one to counter Roberts if he goes wobbly and puts his feelz over the Constitution….

  12. Nevermind just this issue…The People’s Republic of M Assachusetts chills the 2nd Amendment altogether….Since the local/state police have absolute control over a residents ability to even exercise THEIR lawful constitutional rights….That should be dealt with….No Massachusetts resident can purchase a firearm or ammo without a license from the local PD (special permissions/constitutional waivers, etc..) And while were at it have the Politcians and AG charged with treason, constitutional infringements, violations under color of law, etc, and toss them in jail….Unlike innocent citizens…

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Since the local/state police have absolute control over a residents ability to even exercise THEIR lawful constitutional rights….That should be dealt with…”

      It has been: “compelling government interest”.

      1. Wait ✋ a minute! Did YOU get a “1st Amendment Licence” to post here?! Let me see YOUR “Press credentials!”

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Wait ✋ a minute! Did YOU get a “1st Amendment Licence” to post here?! Let me see YOUR “Press credentials!””

          Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges.

      2. …Are YOU “Restricted” to “Paper/Quill/& Ink bottle!? I believe Smartphone/Tablets/PC/Laptops are NOT constitutional protected because they weren’t in “common-use” during Colonial periods… The 1st Amendment DOESN’T cover modern-day methods to post here! You NEED to “PRINT” YOUR Response! On a hand printed press….!

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I believe Smartphone/Tablets/PC/Laptops are NOT constitutional protected because they weren’t in “common-use” during Colonial periods… The 1st Amendment DOESN’T cover modern-day methods to post here! You NEED to “PRINT” YOUR Response! On a hand printed press….!”

          Congrats ! Is this something you learned from your education, or did you intuit as a result of life experience. Either way, welcome aboard.

        2. avatar Hannibal and the Elephants says:

          No Sam, it must be written in iron gall ink using the quill from a flight feather from the right wing of a goose or other strong flying avian species for speech to be protected by the 1st Amendment as intended by the founders.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “No Sam, it must be written in iron gall ink using the quill from a flight feather from the right wing of a goose or other strong flying avian species for speech to be protected by the 1st Amendment as intended by the founders.”

          Well, tried to get those things from a major museum. Ended up working out a deal to leave the articles at the museum, and accept a life-time banishment.

      3. Excerpt:
        It has been: “compelling government interest”.
        ————————————————————–
        1. au·thor·i·tar·i·an·ism
        /ôˌTHäriˈterēənizəm/

        noun
        the enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.

        lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others.”

          I may sometimes be incorrect, but I am always Right.

      4. Excerpt:
        It has been: “compelling government interest”.
        ——————————————————-
        1. pa·ter·nal·ism
        /pəˈtərnlˌizm
        noun
        the policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates’ supposed best interest.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “the policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates’ supposed best interest.”

          Plain ol’ common sense. You cannot rule if you let the people decide things for themselves. Where is the fun in that?

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email