- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2016

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh filed a petition Friday asking the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to review a decision this month challenging the constitutionality of the state’s assault weapons ban.

The Maryland Firearm Safety Act, passed in 2013 after the Newtown, Connecticut, mass shooting, included a provision that banned many military-style weapons and ammunition magazines containing more than 10 rounds.

That provision was challenged for potentially violating the Second Amendment, and a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit court voted 2-1 this month to send it back to a Baltimore district court for a more stringent reading of its constitutionality.

The appeal, filed Friday morning, asks the full Fourth Circuit to reconsider the ban en banc so they can address whether or not the law needs to be sent back to the district court, and Mr. Frosh hopes that the full court will uphold the law.

“The panel majority’s decision directly conflicts with the authoritative decisions of all four other courts of appeals to have considered a Second Amendment challenge to a state law prohibiting assault long guns and large-capacity magazines,” the appeal reads. “While a panel majority held that Maryland’s law was subject to strict scrutiny … all four of these courts expressly rejected that standard of review.”

Mr. Frosh has argued that assault weapons and high-capacity magazines can be banned without violating the right to own guns, saying that such firearms are not necessary for self-defense and handguns and rifles are permissible by state law.

“Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are not needed for self-defense and have been used in too many mass murders,” Mr. Frosh said in a statement. “As Judge King wrote in his strong Fourth Circuit dissent, assault weapons are ‘exceptionally lethal weapons of war.’ They simply have no place in our communities.”

Mr. Frosh was a driving force behind the law’s passage in 2013 when he was a member of the state Senate. He said he is willing to take the appeal to the Supreme Court, and is confident it will be upheld in the long run. In the meantime, the law remains in place.

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