The faulty Fourth Circuit decision issued last week upholding Maryland’s Scary Gun Ban runs afoul of good jurisprudence. The ruling found that Second Amendment protections don’t extend to individuals who wish to own certain semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, calling them, “weapons that are most useful in military service.” However, a document sent to me yesterday offers hope of correcting that in the form of a proposed executive order to be issued by President Trump.
Virginia attorney Lenden Eakin sent me the text of the proposed order and gave permission to share it. I’d like run it past the Armed Intelligentsia here at TTAG to get your take.
The simple mechanism of attorney Eakin’s proposal: by defining certain categories of rifles for militia use, the President could strike state and local bans on many of the most popular “assault rifles” and their magazines.
Mr. Eakin also notes: “An Executive Order like this could have a significant impact on the litigation to challenge Assault Weapons Bans currently making its way through the Courts. It would help the challengers.”
UPDATE: I neglected to note in the original story how this is meant to serve as a stop-gap measure. Ideally, only until a more permanent remedy could be achieved. Or alternatively, until the Supreme Court, with one or more President Trump appointees, could reverse that Fourth Circuit ruling and strike scary gun bans on the whole.
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DESIGNATION OF MILITIA RIFLES
By the authority vested in me as President and Commander in Chief of the Militia by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to ensure the ability of citizens of the United States to defend themselves, their communities and their States, as well as to ensure the safety and security of our Nation, I hereby order as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. Both individual and community safety are critically important to the national security of the United States. Terrorism, transnational criminal activity and potential acts of war by foreign nations present a significant threat to national security and our citizens, who have the right and the duty to defend themselves, their communities, their States and the Nation.
Section 2. Policy. It is the policy of the executive branch to:
(a) Support and defend the Constitution, including the Second Amendment right of citizens to keep and bear arms for Militia purposes,as well asself-defense.
(b) Encourage citizens to be prepared to act as members of the Militia to defend communities, States and the Nation, as part of the common defense contemplated by the Constitution of the United States.
(c) Discourage restrictions by States and political subdivisionson individual possession of firearms suitable for Militia purposes by citizens of the United States.
Section 3. Definitions.
(a) “Militia” has the meaning given the term in Title 10, Section 311 of the United States Code to include the Unorganized Militia, as well as the meaning given to the term “Militia” under equivalent State statutes.
(b) “Self-Defense” shall mean the actions of citizens to defend themselves and their families from physical attack.
(c) “Communities” shall mean neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties and other political subdivisions of citizens who live in distinct geographic areas within a State.
(d) “State” shall mean one of the fifty States of the United States.
(e) “Militia Purposes” shall mean training, practice and preparedness which could improve the ability of a citizen to act,and to be armed in case of a need to act, as a current or future member of a local, State or National organization commanded by government officials and responsive to a physical threat. Appropriate organizations include those commanded by an elected county or city Sheriff; those commanded by the Governor of a State through officers of that State’s Defense Force as authorized by Title 30, Section 109 of the United States Code, or through officers of that State’s National Guard;and organizations commanded by the President through officers of the Active or Reserve components of U.S. Armed Forces.
(f) “Militia Rifles” shall mean the firearms designated in Section 4 that are made in America and suitable for use in self-defense, community defense, defense of States and defense of the Nation.
Section 4. Designation of Militia Rifles. That the following firearms and accessories are authorized and appropriate for individual citizens to keep and bear for Militia purposes under the Constitution and the laws of the United States:
(a) The AR-15 and similar semi-automatic rifles, to include flash suppressors and bayonet lugs, magazines of up to thirty round capacities, M-7 bayonets, and ammunition in 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington, in all quantities.
(b) The M1A and similar semi-automatic rifles, to include flash suppressors and bayonet lugs,magazines of up to twenty round capacities, M-6 bayonets, and ammunition in 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester, in all quantities.
(c) The M1 Garand and similar semi-automatic rifles, to include flash suppressors and bayonet lugs, M-5 bayonets, and ammunition in.30-’06 Springfield, in all quantities.
(d) Bolt action rifles in the calibers of .30-’06 Springfield; 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester; 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington; or any substantially equivalent caliber, and ammunition appropriate for the rifles, in any quantity.
(This list could be expanded or replaced by a broad definition)
Section 5. Pre-emption. This Executive Order is intended to pre-empt the laws of States or political subdivisions that infringe upon the rights of citizens to keep and bear the arms designated in Section 4.
Section 6. Judicial Notice. That the judges of all State and Federal Courts are hereby given notice that possession of the designated Militia Rifles and accessories by citizens should not be restricted or infringed upon by State laws or the laws of a political subdivision of a State and any such law should be reviewed under the strict scrutiny standard to determine whether it is a violation of the Constitution of the United States after judicial consideration of this Order and the fact that it was issued by the Commander in Chief of the Militia.
Donald J. Trump
THE WHITE HOUSE
March __, 2017
PROPOSED EXECUTIVE ORDER DESIGNATES MILITIA RIFLES FOR CITIZEN OWNERSHIP