Another Court Says AR-15s Aren’t Covered by the Second Amendment

Second Amendment


Another Court Says AR-15s Aren’t Covered by the Second Amendment

Buckeye, AZ –-( An egregious ruling out of a Federal Court in Massachusetts, is just the latest example of why judicial appointments are so critically important.  The fact that the ruling comes at a moment when anti-rights Democrats in the U.S. Senate are praising a Donald Trump nominee to the Federal Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, while Republican defenders of the Bill of Rights are criticizing Trump’s nominee over First and Second Amendment concerns.

The Massachusetts ruling came in a case filed by local rights advocates and the Gun Owners Action League, against the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Gun Owners' Action League - The Official Firearms Association of Massachusetts

GOAL sued Healey after she arbitrarily redefined the state’s “assault weapons” ban by including all guns with actions or internal parts that are interchangeable or similar to those of specifically banned firearms.  The Massachusetts ban, which was originally a mirror of the 1994 Clinton Gun Ban, had been in place for almost 20 years when Healey decided to change the rules and retroactively add thousands of heretofore legal rifles to the banned list, making criminals of thousands of law-abiding gun owners.

The Massachusetts Legislature enacted the state law in 1998, using the same definitions and terminology used in the federal ban, including the “grandfather clause, which exempted guns owned prior to the September, 1994 from the restrictions.  By expanding the definition in 2016 to include firearms that are mechanically similar to those that were banned, Healey retroactively criminalized sale, purchase, and possession of all of the thousands of rifles and magazines that meet the new definitions, but had been legally acquired since the 1994 ban.  Those rifles and magazines are now contraband, and the individuals who possess them are felons – if this legal interpretation is allowed to stand.

GOAL and fellow plaintiffs sued to overturn the original law, and particularly block the implementation of the new definitions.  They contended that the original ban is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment because it bans an entire class of firearms which are commonly owned and used for lawful purposes. They further contended that the new, expanded definitions were unconstitutional because the terminology used is unconstitutionally vague and confusing, and violates constitutional protections against ex post facto laws.

In the Federal District Court for the State of Massachusetts, Judge William Young, a Reagan appointee, declared that “The AR-15 and its analogs, along with large capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional right to bear arms.

To support that outrageous claim, Judge Young invoked the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, and the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, claiming that in Heller, Scalia specifically stated that the weapons most useful to service in a militia were not protected by the Second Amendment.

This is taken from a bit of dicta included in the Heller opinion, in which Justice Scalia was attempting to head-off future arguments based on the Court’s 1939 Miller decision.  In that decision the Court concluded that they could not say that a sawed-off shotgun was protected by the Second Amendment, because they had no knowledge of such a weapon being useful in militia service.

Scalia offered a hypothetical argument saying; “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause.

He’s suggesting that someone could use Miller to argue that restrictions on full-auto weapons are unconstitutional because those are the weapons “that are most useful in military service.”  He then goes on to answer that hypothetical challenge by arguing that the Miller decision hinged not on whether the weapon was militarily useful, but rather whether it was something that was commonly possessed for lawful purposes by members of the public.  He concluded that since full-auto’s are not very common in civilian hands, restrictions on them could probably be upheld as constitutional.

That’s a pretty thin argument, since those very restrictions are the only reason full-auto weapons like the M16 are not much more commonly owned, but to take that weak argument from Justice Scalia, and willfully distort it to claim that he was saying that guns that look like M16s aren’t protected by the Second Amendment, specifically because they are most useful in military service, is beyond outrageous, it’s downright treasonous.

This outrageous distortion didn’t originate with Judge Young however.  It was originally put forward last year by a panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case Kolbe v. Hogan, which challenged Maryland’s draconian ban on guns that look military.  That decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, and the cowardly justices refused to grant it a hearing, allowing the egregious ruling to stand.

Sam Adams would be calling for all of these judges to be defrocked and ridden out of town on a rail.  This is not a minor quibble over a legal technicality, but rather an intentional distortion to effect a desired outcome.  No honest reading of Justice Scalia’s opinion in Heller could arrive at the conclusions that these judges reached, and it is even more shameful that the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States have foregone their sworn duty, and allowed such conclusions to stand.

Jeff Knox
Jeff Knox

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit:

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  1. Yup. It makes a lot of sense to make me a criminal. I’m not giving up my AR-15. It’s just ‘cuz the gun is black and looks scary?

  2. That judge is corrupt. Getting paid by the deep state. Time to check the bank accounts. He knows nothing about the constitution. Twisting it for traitors of America.

  3. “the weapons most useful to service in a militia were not protected by the Second Amendment”, That means I should have unfettered access to own an M-16, if others aren’t of use to a militia!!!

    Also, by the reasoning of the judge in this article, movies, and TV’s aren’t covered under the 1st Amendment.

    1. The laws of the individual states during the first century of the US as a nation shows that this decision is either steeped in ignorance or an outright lie.
      Those laws specifically stated that all members of the militia (which included every healthy male between 16 and 60) were PERSONALLY responsible for having a weapon and shot reserved for use if called up by the militia.

  4. Pure BS, The 2nd states that we the people’ shell not be infringed, And we are the military, So are firearms must meet the military standards…………………………….

  5. The Constitution States…. “ARMS”….Not to be “infringed”. It doesn’t state AR’s ,Shotguns, Pistols…
    It’s states “Arms”. If you read the Constitution correctly the Peoples ARMS Rights have already been Infringed by the Government. Push comes to shove we can & will make it a lot more clearer.

  6. what part of shall not be infringed
    do you not get!!!!!!!!!!!!The right of the people are give by The Bill of Rights:

    b 1. ( tr ) tov violate or break (a law, an agreement, etc) 2. ( intr; foll by on or upon ) to encroach or trespass [C16: from Latin infringere to break off, from frangere to break
    in·fringe (
    v. in·fringed, in·fring·ing, in·fring·es
    1. To transgress or exceed the limits of; violate: infringe a contract; infringe a patent.
    2. Obsolete To defeat; invalidate.
    v.intr. To encroach on someone or something; engage in trespassing: an increased workload that infringed on his personal life

  7. The second amendment does not address ownership of a particular firearm. To exclude a particular firearm on that basis makes no sense. The amendment addresses the right of the individual to own and bear arms. A ruling stating that ownership of a particular firearm under any circumstance by civilians is not protected under that declaration is inconsistent with the language. This cognitively corrupt jurist, consistent with His ruling here, can now define the second amendment as a protection of our right to arm bears and it will make just as much sense.

  8. As far as I am concerned, the Second Amendment and indeed the ENTIRE Bill of Rights is to allow We The People to protect ourselves from an out of control government.

    In my opinion, this intends as concerns the Second that We The People are assured PARITY with the military and the police authorities.

    In my opinion We The People are ALREADY having our God-given and Constitutionally affirmed rights taken by government when we are not allowed full auto weapons, big magazines, etc.

    Our problems with mass shootings are not the weapons, but the deranged people who commit the acts.


  9. Alot of corrupt judges got appointed under the Democomms! They know darn well what the Second-Amendment means and they rape it every chance they get! It will not stop until they get everyone in a corner and will fight them! The East coast and West coast is a haven for those gun grabbing idiots,cause they want complete control over everyone.

  10. “Not commonly owned” is not a reason to uphold a ban or restriction. Many things are not “commonly” owned because of cost or size or availability, etc. The point about “not commonly owned” because of bans or restrictions already in place is fact and a good point, and if used by courts as good reasoning is nothing but circular reasoning or backwards logic.

  11. What good is the Supreme Court if it allows these stupid rulings to stand? They should all be struck down as a blanket ruling.

  12. Re this ruling, the following might be appropriate. Having spoken, this judge has created law where none previously existed. Let him now enforce his decree.

  13. I have the same handgun as the military. Is that next on the list to be banned??
    I use the same bullets as the military. Soon to be banned??
    I wear milsurp underwear and field jackets. Ban these also??
    Thank the Lord I traded in my Jeep, I would be under surveillance the moment I entered the Socialist state of Massachusetts….. Maybe even detained as “looking military” !!!!

  14. If and when they cause a revolution we the people are coming for those traitors who want us disarmed just like the founding fathers did!

  15. Another black robbed dictator legislating from the bench. Maybe we need a referendum to have the people elect judges rather than politicians appoint them and they need to be term limited.

  16. Militia is a military term and we are to be armed as such being well regulated. Oh well, we could use sharp objects I guess and….oh I forgot even those are now banned in England. Quick, pick up all of the rocks before they are banned and melt all of the cars down as they are used to kill too. Ban all kinds of cord for use in strangling. Let’s see now what is left for the left to ban now?

  17. As a Military Veteran, I have fought for my Constitutional Rights and The Rights of every American Citizen. I’ll be damned if I allow anyone to step on my Rights or anyone else’s. Massachusetts, you have overstepped your Constitutional Authority. What part of “Shall Not Be Infringed” don’t you ignorant nimrods not understand. It’s high time the Patriots in Massachusetts drain the swamp of these Progressive Socialist Parasites that have infested their State Government and their Federal Courts.

  18. If I lived there, I would QUICKLY let the ‘court’ know that I WILL NOT surrender ANY of MY weapons, no matter WHAT new law they may enact!

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