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Supreme Court Leaves State Assault Weapon Bans In Place

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear two challenges to the assault weapons bans currently held in the states of Connecticut and New York.

On June 20, the Supreme Court refused to hear Shew v. Malloy, a challenge against Connecticut’s ban on several semi-automatic rifles, as well as Kampfer v. Cuomo, a challenge against a similar ban in New York, The New York Times reports.

Connecticut enacted the assault weapons ban in 2013, shortly after Adam Lanza gunned down 20 students and six faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School using a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle.

Four individuals, a business and two advocacy groups had sought to challenge the assault weapons ban, asserting that it violated the 2008 Supreme Court decision of District of Columbia v. Heller, which established that it is a constitutional right for an individual to bear arms.

“Connecticut dubs a semi-automatic firearm an ‘assault weapon,’ but that is nothing more than argument advanced by a political slogan in the guise of a definition,” the group wrote to Supreme Court.

In the case of Kampfer v. Cuomo, New York resident Douglas E. Kampfer sought to challenge his state’s assault weapons ban. He had argued his case in court without a lawyer.

The United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit had sided with the states in both cases, maintaining that the bans were constitutional.

The Supreme Court has refused to hear any cases attempting to clarify how the decision of District of Columbia v. Heller, leaving the debate about gun control to the lower courts.

Director Jonathan Lowy of the Legal Action Project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence celebrated Supreme Court’'s decision not to hear Shew v. Malloy.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to let stand Connecticut’s assault weapons restrictions, is just the latest indication that Courts almost universally recognize that common sense life-saving gun laws are fully compatible with the Second Amendment,” Lowy said, according to CNN.

President Scott Wilson Sr. of the Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League, one of the advocacy groups that attempted to contest the ban, vowed to renew the challenge “as soon as there are five Justices sitting on the Supreme Court committed to the proper understanding of the Second Amendment.”

The Supreme Court decision not to hear the two cases occurred a week after a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12 claimed the lives of 49 people and injured 53 others. It was the most fatal mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The decision also came on the same day that four gun control bills failed to pass in the U.S. Senate, Slate reports.

The pieces of legislation were designed to either update background checks for gun purchases or prevent the sale of firearms to suspected terrorists. None of the bills managed to reach the 60-vote threshold to be sent to the House for further consideration.

Sources: CNN, The New York Times, Slate / Photo credit:

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