U.S. Supreme Court

Justices asked to consider Connecticut law banning type of weapon used by Orlando nightclub shooter

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A pending cert petition asks the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Connecticut law that bans assault weapons such as the AR-15, the gun used by the Florida man who killed 49 people and injured 53 others at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

The Supreme Court has previously refused to review an assault weapons ban in Highland Park, Illinois, and may turn down the Connecticut case because there is no circuit split, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) reports. The case is Shew v. Malloy.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in October, ruling it did not violate the Second Amendment and was not void for vagueness. The Connecticut law was passed after the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Sandy Hook shooter used an AR-15, as did the shooter in San Bernardino, California, the New York Times reports.

The cert petition (PDF) in Shew v. Malloy says the 2nd Circuit used a “lax” standard of intermediate scrutiny to review the Connecticut law, and then applied it so loosely that it amounted to rational basis review..

Meanwhile, an en banc federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, is reviewing Maryland’s ban of 45 assault weapons. A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that a district court judge should apply strict scrutiny in its review of the law. The case is Kolbe v. Hogan.

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