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Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has acknowledged in a brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that knives are “arms” covered by the Second Amendment. Unfortunately for him, he tried to use a ban on Bowie knives from the 1800s as an argument that Maryland’s ban on “assault weapons” is legal. It’s an argument that just doesn’t make the cut.
As background, when the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its Bruen opinion upholding the right to carry firearms and setting strict scrutiny as the test, it sent back to the Appeals Courts a number of cases that were appeals in a variety of gun ban cases. The courts were instructed to review the various prohibitions’ constitutionality in light of the Justices’ decision. One such case was Dominic Bianchi v. Brian Frosh in Maryland opposing the state’s “assault weapons” ban.
The Fourth Circuit asked the parties to brief the case in light of Bruen. The basic argument from Second Amendment supporters in their briefs was that Bianchi could not survive strict scrutiny. There are millions of so-called assault weapons as defined by Maryland’s ban in common use by law-abiding citizens for self-defense, and thus they cannot be considered “dangerous and unusual weapons” that are “not in common use.”