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Supreme Court won’t review Maryland’s law banning sales of ‘assault weapons’

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 27, 2017, 12:11 p.m.

In this June 26, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court is seen in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
In this June 26, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court is seen in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a Maryland law banning the sale of semiautomatic guns with certain military-style features.

The justices in the past have passed up the chance to hear challenges to similar laws in a handful of other states. But attorneys generals in 21 states had asked the court to step in.

Maryland’s ban on so-called assault weapons was passed after the 2012 mass shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school.

A district judge had cast doubt on the constitutionality of the law. But the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, upheld the ban in a 10-4 vote

The ruling went further than other appellate courts that have reviewed similar laws in stating that “assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment.”

The majority opinion, written by Judge Robert King, refers to the banned firearms as “weapons of war” that the court says are most useful in the military.

In a strongly worded dissent, Judge William Traxler said his colleagues have “gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.”

At the time, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, said it was “unthinkable that people could say that those weapons of war are protected by the Second Amendment.

”Especially when you look at the carnage at Newtown and elsewhere around the country.“

The Supreme Court made no comment in declining to review the 4th Circuit ruling.

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