Gun Laws & Legislation

Post Orlando, SCOTUS To Review Connecticut Gun Control Law

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent

Days after the bloodiest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a petition to hear a challenge to a Connecticut law banning “military-style firearms.”

The case is Shew v. Malloy, a challenge to a Connecticut law passed in the aftermath of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 28 people dead. The legislation expanded the state’s definition of “assault weapons,” (which were already banned under existing Connecticut law), banned 183 different assault weapons by make and model, and made the possession, transportation, sale, or importation of assault weapons a felony offense.

An amendment to the legislation passed several months later criminalized the possession of so-called high capacity magazines, which can hold or be converted to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL), a pro-Second Amendment group, challenged the legislation in federal court, claiming the legislation banned weapons that are not in fact assault weapons and that are widely used for lawful purposes. They further alleged many specific provisions of the legislation were unconstitutionally vague. In 2014 Judge Alfred V. Covello found in favor of Connecticut. CCDL appealed the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, who affirmed Judge Covello’s decision. (RELATED: David Petraeus Just Launched A Gun Control Group For Vets)

In February 2016, CCDL filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, a legal petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Since its landmark decision in D.C. v. Heller in 2008, the Supreme Court has generally avoided hearing Second Amendment cases. In 2015, the Court declined to review an assault weapons ban in Highland Park, Illinois, a swank suburb on Chicago’s north shore. That same year, the justices also declined to hear a challenge to a San Francisco law placing a variety of restrictions on handguns. In both cases, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas issued a rare cert dissent, arguing that the high court should have reviewed the case.

The justices have not announced whether or not they will review the case, but a decision is expected June 16.

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