Judge: ‘Assault weapons’ not protected by Second Amendment


U.S. Federal Judge Catherine C. Blake released a 47-page decision yesterday upholding the Constitutionality of Maryland’s strict Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which severely restricts modern sporting rifles and standard-capacity magazines.

I have never seen a decision from a federal judge so lacking in factual support.

Blake, who was nominated for her seat in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, found

U.S. Federal Judge Catherine C. Blake

U.S. Federal Judge Catherine C. Blake

that “assault weapons” were dangerous and unusual — not something in common use. Therefore, they were not subject to the protections offered by the Second Amendment.

She also concluded:

“Assault weapons” are not used for self defense.

“Assault weapons” are frequently used in mass shootings.

“Assault weapons” are more offensive in nature than their fully-automatic military counterparts.

“Assault weapons” pose a heightened risk to law enforcement and civilians.

The plaintiffs in the case were: Stephen V. Kolbe, Andrew C. Turner, Wink’s Sporting Goods, Inc., Atlantic Guns, Inc., Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, Inc., Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc., National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. , and Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association, Inc.

The filed suit against Maryland’s governor and the head of the State Police, asking Judge Blake to declare the state’s new gun control act unconstitutional.

In her decision, Blake wrote that she “seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self-defense in the home, which is at the core of the Second Amendment right, and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual.”

Blake wrote she was unconvinced that “assault weapons” were “commonly possessed” despite evidence to the contrary.

“First, the court is not  persuaded that assault weapons are commonly possessed based on the absolute number of those weapons owned by the public. Even accepting that there are 8.2 million assault weapons in the civilian gun stock, as the plaintiffs claim, assault weapons represent no more than 3% of the current civilian gun stock, and ownership of those weapons is highly concentrated in less than 1% of the U.S. population.”

Blake also concluded that assault weapons were frequently used in mass shootings.

“The court is also not persuaded by the plaintiffs’ claims that assault weapons are used infrequently in mass shootings and murders of law enforcement officers. The available statistics indicate that assault weapons are used disproportionately to their ownership in the general public and, furthermore, cause more injuries and more fatalities when they are used.”

She found that “assault weapons” pose a risk to law enforcement.

“Finally, despite the plaintiffs’ claims that they would like to use assault weapons for defensive purposes, assault weapons are military-style weapons designed for offensive use, and are equally, or possibly even more effective, in functioning and killing capacity as their fully automatic versions he evidence also demonstrates that criminals using assault rifles pose a heightened risk to law enforcement.”

Blake relied upon data provided by two anti-gun groups, regarding the capabilities of ammunition used in “assault weapons.”

“They can penetrate walls and other home structures and remain more effective than penetrating bullets fired from other guns, endangering those in neighboring rooms, apartments, or even other homes. (Brady Ctr. to Prevent Gun Violence, Assault Weapons “Mass Produced Mayhem.”)

Citing a statement by Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police,  Blake wrote that Pasco  “would not be surprised if a bullet fired from an AK-47 went through six walls of conventional drywall in a home.”

Blake’s conclusion suggests she is adhering to a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
“In summary, the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which represents the considered judgment of this State’s legislature and its governor, seeks to address a serious risk of harm to law enforcement officers and the public from the greater power to injure and kill presented by assault weapons and large capacity magazines. The Act substantially serves the government’s interest in  protecting public safety, and it does so without significantly burdening what the Supreme Court has now explained is the core Second Amendment right of ‘law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.’ Accordingly, the law is constitutional and will be upheld.”
There is no word yet on any appeal by the plaintiffs in this case.

About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. So now a judge is openly saying that she does not care about the facts from the FBI, her opinion is the only thing that matters. “Animal Farm” revisited. The judge should have ‘non-judicial behavior’ charges filed.

  2. Since there are very few assault weapons in the hands of the general public (the fully automatic weapons have been regulated since around 1938) there is no real issue here. Virtual no assault weapons have been used for the very few mass shootings that have occurred. This judges decision is irrelevant. Modern sporting rifles are not assault weapons. They are not automatic rifles and so they are covered by the second amendment

  3. Peter Courtenay Stephens on

    This Judge does not have a scintilla of sufficient knowledge of firearms to be qualified to make this determination. It is doubtful that she has the slightest real idea of what an assault weapon is, and what a semi auto military style firearm is. If this law is not reversed, it will be a magnificent example of political and judicial legal travesty. Disgraceful !
    As dishonest legal decision, I think I have ever read, in my 76 years of life and 64 years of gun ownership?
    “An Unarmed Man is an Enslaved Man.
    A Disarmed Man is a Conquered Man.
    I Shall Not Be, Enslaved or Conquered.”
    Sic Semper Tyrannis !

  4. So, those kinds of weapons are not useful to a militia? How about Miller 1939 SCOTUS opinion? Geez…..What goes through these Jackwagons minds? How did they ever get to where they are?

  5. The core of the second amendment right is clearly stated in the second amendment – the right of the PEOPLE (Not just the police force, active and retired, as most new progressive socialist democrats interpret it) to keep and bear arms,SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED, So they can come together and form a capable militia to provide their own security, having the POWER to PREVAIL, against invasion, against lawlessness, or against tyranny! CAN’T DO THAT WITH A HANDGUN OR SHOTGUN!! They are under-ranged pop guns in the field of war. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THERE IS NO WAY FOR NEW PROGRESSIVE SOCIALIST DEMOCRATS TO MAKE US HARMLESS AND DEFENSELESS ENOUGH FOR THEM TO FEEL COMFORTABLE THAT WE CAN BE EASILY CONTAINED, CONTROLLED, AND SLAUGHTERED – WHILE STILL RETAINING OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS!!! What they want is to repeal the second amendment. They have to see that the days of thinking they are fooling us that we can still enjoy our second amendment rights with whatever BB guns and pop guns they feel comfortable allowing us is long gone! SEMI-AUTO AR15 TYPE RIFLES ARE NOT DANGEROUS AND UNUSUAL – THEY ARE THE MOST COMMON RIFLE OF THE DAY. (Perhaps a government that seems to be taking OUR constitutional rights at an alarming pace – feels it is dangerous exerting tyranny on ARMED CITIZENS!!!) THAT’S THE POINT OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT – IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE DANGEROUS TO EXERT TYRANNY ON AMERICANS! So they are taking the one weapon that gives us the power to fight their tyranny, leaving us with firearms that would endanger the life of a retired cop, if he were not exempt from their infringing law. (Progressive socialist democrats don’t think it is tyrannical taking our constitutional rights? Or they think we are so stupid they can fool us it’s for our own good?) TAKE AR15 TYPE RIFLES FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE – THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS REDUCED TO FOOLISH WORDS TO FOOL FOOLS!!! They ARE doing it – The courts ARE upholding it – We are being left with the same situation as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, And communist E Germany – Citizens disarmed to the point of taking their ability to resist – and a huge militarized government force to control us! It’s a BIG problem!

  6. This is actually an excellent thing to have happen.

    First of all, this is guaranteed to be appealed, giving us a decision higher up in the legal food chain.

    Secondly, this decision is so bad, that this higher decision literally has to state that you cannot ban individual firearms.

    If we’re lucky it will go all the way up to the current Supreme Court.

  7. Howard Dennard on

    The second amendment does not state anything about self-defense. As for penetrating walls, ever fired a .50 muzzleloader? And for the po-LICE, look out for that 30.06 at 500yrds. Lastly what part of “Shall not be infringed” does this “judge” not understand? Her arguments are the arguments of the anti-gun people, they don’t hold water. But I guess under OBUMO judges no longer have to be impartial.

  8. In her decision, Blake wrote that she “seriously doubts that the banned assault long guns are commonly possessed for lawful purposes, particularly self-defense in the home, which is at the core of the Second Amendment right, and is inclined to find the weapons fall outside Second Amendment protection as dangerous and unusual.” This flagrantly wrong as the Second Amendment is not directed at inside home protection as it is to protect us from a tyrannical form of government and the protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This so-called judge must have studied constitutional law under Obama. She cites previous case law in her decision which is not precedent as current rulings from the Supreme Court, but based it on biased facts from anti-guns groups, faulty FBI statistics and non-experts in firearms or ballistics. This decision is the most biased and idiotic. I hope that this case will be appealed and over-turned.

Leave A Reply