Friday, January 31, 2014

A Loss In Connecticut

Senior District Court Judge Alfred V. Covello ruled in favor of the State of Connecticut in upholding their assault weapons ban and other restrictions. The case, Shew et al v. Malloy et al, was brought by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and others challenging the law enacted after the Newtown shootings.
Gun control advocates were buoyed Thursday by a federal court decision in Hartford that upholds Connecticut's toughest-in-the-nation assault weapons ban, calling it a constitutionally valid means of balancing gun rights and the government's interest in reducing gun violence.

"The court concludes that the legislation is constitutional," senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello wrote in a decision published late Thursday. "While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control."
Just quickly glancing over the opinion that can be found here, it appears that Judge Covello used intermediate scrutiny to decide in favor of Connecticut and relied upon the 2nd Circuit's ruling in Kachalsky v. Cacace.

From the article in the Hartford Courant, it appears that Judge Covello bought into much of the anti-gun nonsense that Connecticut used to defend the law.
Covello, agreeing with the plaintiffs, concluded that the weapons and magazines are commonly owned and legally used in Connecticut and elsewhere. But he parted company with the plaintiffs when he wrote that the state's ownership and sales ban is justified when the government's goal of reducing violence is measured against the ban's impingement on Second Amendment rights.

The Second Amendment rights of gun owners are adequately protected by the large number of alternate weapons that can be used for protection, hunting and sports events, he wrote.

On several occasions, Covello adopted the state's arguments that assault weapons are designed, not for cosmetic purposes, but for "lethality." And he referred to an affidavit by a state expert who asserted that "Connecticut's bans on assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and particularly its ban on (large capacity magazines), have the potential to prevent and limit shootings in the state over the long run."
Covello was appointed to the bench for the District of Connecticut by Pres. George H. W. Bush in 1992.


  1. John,

    I actually take a position that not many would agree with. I believe that the police powers of a state allow more restrictions of particular weapons as opposed to the federal government. Along with that position I'd mention that the stqates are then forced to deal with their reactions.

    In this particular case, I can't imagine that anyone, using 'strict' scrutiny can decide that a pan on any particular weapon advances a states' interest.

  2. I just love the word play courts use to get out of protecting our rights.

    The guns and mags are in common use, its a substantial burden to our rights, but its okay because GUNS.

  3. Then of course there is Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution which describes the missions of the militia. Pretty hard to accomplish those missions with single shot weapons these days.

  4. It's only district. We've never won at the district level, except once.

  5. Assault weapon bans that target specific features (e.g., telescoping stocks, pistol grips, muzzle devices, etc.) will never be defeated in court by arguing that the firearms themselves are in “common use.” Indeed, the so-called common use standard will likely only prove useful where large classes of firearms are concerned (e.g., handguns, rifles and shotguns; maybe manual vs. semi-automatic).

    Professor Nicholas Johnson of Fordham University outlined the most likely path towards overturning assault weapon bans in his article Supply Restrictions at the Margins of Heller and the Abortion Analogue: Stenberg Principles, Assault Weapons, and the Attitudinalist Critique.

    Gun rights attorneys would be well-advised to review the literature before engaging in more useless litigation.