Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Appellate lawyer

Elizabeth Franklin-Best, a criminal appellate lawyer seeking freedom for her clients.  Focused exclusively on criminal appeals in both state and federal courts.

Stephen Kolbe v. Lawrence Hogan, Jr.: 4th Circuit (en banc) Rules Some Guns Not Covered by Second Amendment, Maryland’s Statute is Constitutional (No. 14-1945, filed 2/21/17).

February 21st, 2017
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Referring to the Newtown Massacre and others, the 4th Circuit upheld the constitutionality of Maryland state’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013 which bans the AR-15 and other military-style rifles and shotgun and detachable large-capacity magazines.  The plaintiffs in these cases contested the constitutionality of the FSA and also raised two Second Amendment claims 1) aimed at the assault weapons ban, and 2) the prohibition against large-capacity magazines.  The plaintiff’s also raised Fourteenth Amendment equal protection and due process claims.

The short of it is that the Court now holds that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are NOT protected by the Second Amendment; that they are “weapons that are most useful in military service” and thus constitute that class of weapons the Heller[1]court found to be beyond the Second Amendment’s reach.  The Court then goes on to hold that even if these weapons are entitled to protection under the Second Amendment, the district court properly submitted the FSA to intermediate scrutiny and the statute survives.

Robust dissent by Judges Traxler, Niemeyer, Shedd, and Agee.   This one’s heading to the US Supreme Court, folks.


[1] District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008).