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U.S. Circuit Court Deals Major Blow To Gun Activists

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The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ban by the state of Maryland on high-powered assault weapons and large capacity magazines. The court has ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect such weapons.

The ruling shoots down an appeal by the National Sports Shooting Foundation and two other plaintiffs contesting Maryland's ban on such weapons. In 2013, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the Firearm Safety Act in response to the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut.

"We are convinced that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are among those arms that are 'like' M-16 rifles -- 'weapons that are most useful in military service' -- which the Heller Court singled out as being beyond the Second Amendment’s reach," the court ruled, notes The Trace. "Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage."

"To say in the wake of so many mass shootings in so many localities across this country that the people themselves are now to be rendered newly powerless, that all they can do is stand by and watch as federal courts design their destiny -- this would deliver a body blow to democracy as we have known it since the very founding of this nation," U.S. Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson wrote in a separate opinion, notes The Huffington Post.

"It's a huge victory," added Deepak Gupta, an appellate attorney who wrote a brief for the defendants, notes The Trace. "It shows that a Second Amendment right to bear arms can coexist with common-sense gun legislation."

The attorney representing the plaintiffs has not yet commented on the ruling.

Sources: The Trace, The Huffington Post / Photo credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department via Wikimedia Commons

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