By Chris Dickerson | Aug 28, 2017

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a 21-state coalition in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the rights of gun owners in West Virginia and beyond.

The coalition filed a brief Aug. 25 asking the Supreme Court to hear arguments against, and ultimately strike down, a Maryland weapons ban. It argues the ban infringes on the rights of legal gun owners as it prohibits the sale, transfer and possession of certain semiautomatic firearms and standard-capacity magazines.

“Banning certain types of firearms steps on the Second Amendment,” Morrisey said in a statement. “Law abiding gun owners routinely use these firearms for self-defense or sporting. Such an unconstitutional act cannot stand.” 

The coalition’s brief takes issue with a ruling from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Its decision, if upheld, would set case law governing any similar laws in West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

West Virginia and its partners argue the lower court ruling inappropriately limited the scope of the Second Amendment by taking an earlier Supreme Court ruling out of context.

The coalition further contends that weapons subject to the Maryland ban are protected under existing case law related to weapons lawfully carried in common use. Striking down such a ban would safeguard against any federal ban passed by Congress.

West Virginia filed the friend of the court brief with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The case is styled Kolbe v. Hogan. Hogan is Lawrence J. Hogan, governor of Maryland.

U.S. Supreme Court case number 17-127

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