Gun Groups Turn to Third Circuit to Block Delaware Assault Weapon Ban – Bearing Arms

Gun Groups Turn to Third Circuit to Block Delaware Assault Weapon Ban – Bearing Arms

No one is particularly shocked that Delaware passed an assault weapon ban. The only shocking thing is that anyone could own anything remotely resembling an assault weapon ban in such an anti-gun state.

But they could and the law seeks to make that a problem.

In response, gun rights groups have decided to be a problem of their own, challenging the law. Yet here, we got a surprise when a judge refused to block enforcement of the constitutionally problematic law, particularly in a post-Bruen judicial landscape.

But he did.

Now, those gun rights groups are trying to get a judge to reverse that decision.

Lawyers for gun rights groups urged a federal appeals court on Monday to overturn a judge’s refusal to halt enforcement of Delaware laws banning certain semiautomatic firearms and restricting the size of firearm magazines.

Delaware’s Democrat-controlled General Assembly enacted laws in 2022 that ban the sale of several types of semiautomatic firearms and shotguns, and limit magazine capacity to 17 rounds.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Andrews denied a request by opponents for a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of the laws until a court decides whether they are unconstitutional. The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, joined by other gun rights advocates, argues that the laws violate Delawareans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Andrews ruled last year that the firearms and large-capacity magazines targeted by the laws are presumptively protected by the Second Amendment. Nevertheless, he refused to issue an injunction, saying the state had sufficiently established that the weapons and magazines “implicate dramatic technological change and unprecedented societal concerns for public safety.”

The gun restrictions are consistent with the historical tradition of firearm regulation in the United States, and opponents failed to demonstrate a likelihood of winning their lawsuit, Andrews concluded. He also said opponents had failed to show that they can’t adequately defend themselves with other firearms.

In other words, Andrews is pulling judicial “reasoning” out of his fourth point of contact.

He was right that they’re presumptively covered by the Second Amendment, but no other right suddenly stops applying because of “dramatic technological change” or anything else. We didn’t forfeit our Fourth Amendment rights because computers could now contain our personal information. We didn’t forfeit our free speech rights because the internet made it so we could communicate with people around the world easily.

Technology doesn’t negate our rights, and Andrews is out of his mind if he thinks that’s sound reasoning. 

Moreover, the fact that he went there suggests that no, those restrictions aren’t really consistent with the historical tradition of gun control at all, he’s just trying to cover his butt.

I don’t blame the groups for challenging this particular ruling, especially since this was just about a preliminary injunction. He didn’t really hear arguments on the case itself, so I have every reason to believe that his ruling will be overturned and an injunction will be forthcoming.

Frankly, this is absolutely disgusting. These are people’s rights we’re talking about here and Andrews thinks that it does matter if the state can come up with a compelling reason. He didn’t say it, but he was interest balancing, which Bruen expressly put an end to.

My hope is that his ruling gets smacked down so hard his descendants feel it.

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