Update — On April 26, 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a favorable decision rejecting the plaintiffs’ challenge to Massachusetts’ assault weapon and magazine regulations, siding with the position Giffords Law Center argued for in our amicus brief.
Case information: Worman et al. v. Healey et al. (1st Cir. brief filed Sept 28, 2018).
At Issue: The state of Massachusetts has prohibited the sale, transfer or possession of assault weapons and large capacity magazines (“LCMs”) since 1998. Its law restricts civilian access to weapons of military origin that are ill-suited for self defense and frequently employed in mass shootings and attacks on law enforcement officers. Plaintiffs in this case bring Second Amendment and other constitutional challenges to Massachusetts’ law. The district court rejected their challenge and upheld the law on the grounds that neither assault weapons nor LCMs are protected by the Second Amendment. The case is now on appeal before the First Circuit.
Giffords Law Center’s Brief: Our brief argues that the challenged law regulates conduct that falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment because assault weapons and LCMs are “most useful in military service, dangerous, not typically possessed for lawful purposes, and not in ‘common use.’” We also argue that, in the alternative, even if this law does implicate the Second Amendment, it easily passes constitutional review under intermediate scrutiny (the appropriate level of review in this context).