Before the JT publishes a poll question it should do some research to see if the question is even relevant. Anyone who responded “yes” to the June 17 question, “Do you believe that either federal or state officials should ban the sale of assault weapons?” clearly is not versed on the facts of this issue.
To begin with, assault weapons, most accurately defined as weapons with high-capacity magazines and the capability to fire multiple bullets with one pull of the trigger, have been banned for civilian use on the federal level for many decades with very few exceptions. That federal ban carries over to the state level as well. In October 2013, the state of Maryland passed the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 that also banned the sale of semiautomatic rifles if they were cosmetically similar to the already-banned assault rifles by having a folding stock or a flash suppressor.
In addition, the sale and purchase of a magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds became illegal in Maryland. This law was successfully challenged in court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said that the ban on semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines should be subject to strict scrutiny, not intermediate scrutiny, because they “are in common use by law-abiding citizens.” The court acknowledged that the state has a right to limit the use of or ban citizen possession, sale or transfer of “dangerous and unusual” weapons (such as hand grenades), but the weapons and ammunition barred by the 2013 law did not fall under that provision.
The fact is that there is no meaningful difference between a legally sold/purchased civilian AR-15 and a hunting rifle. In fact, the AR-15 is chambered for a .223 caliber round whereas many hunting rifles are chambered for .30-30 or .308 caliber rounds, which are significantly more powerful. Banning assault weapons has already been done. Can we please find a real solution?