A Federal Court of Appeals Goes to War against the Second Amendment
Willfully ignorant. "First, let’s look at the court’s breathtaking contempt for individual rights. Rather than read the Supreme Court’s controlling opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller according to its plain language, it deliberately distorts Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion. In Heller, Scalia clearly stated that the sorts of weapons the Second Amendment protects are those that are “in common use at the time,” with exceptions that apply to those weapons that are “dangerous and unusual.” Why the addition of “and” unusual? Because every single working gun ever made is dangerous. To illustrate his point, Scalia then provides examples of specific types of “dangerous and unusual” guns — “M-16 rifles and the like.” Here’s a news flash: The M-16 isn’t the same as a civilian “assault weapon” like the AR-15. The M-16 variants in use in the United States military are capable of being fired in both semi-automatic and fully automatic (three-round burst) modes. If you think that the M-16 and AR-15 are alike, then walk to your local gun store and try to buy an M-16. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Are you back yet? Do you have an M-16? No? That’s because it’s an entirely different category of weapon, governed by different federal statutes. The Fourth Circuit, however, deliberately conflated semi-automatic weapons and automatic weapons. And it went to absurd lengths to do so. To illustrate how, let’s turn to the next part of the formula — willful ignorance. In discussing the civilian, semi-automatic AR-15, the court comprehensively described the history of the military, fully automatic weapon that became the M-16 (and also the lighter and shorter M-4). Then, attempting to equate the M-16 and the AR-15, it published this spit-out-your-coffee sentence: “Semiautomatic weapons can be fired at rates of 300 to 500 rounds per minute, making them virtually indistinguishable in practical effect from machineguns.” The word “rates” does a lot of work in that sentence. Yes, a person can pull the trigger very quickly on a semi-auto rifle (of any type) for a very short time. No, you cannot send 300 to 500 rounds downrange in one minute. You can’t even do it with an M-16 in burst mode."