The Slatest

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Two State Bans on Semiautomatic Weapons Passed After Newtown

An 11-year-old boy handles a semiautomatic rifle during the 2012 NRA Annual Meetings in St. Louis, Missouri.

Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images

A federal appeals court upheld on Monday the core of New York and Connecticut gun control laws passed in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the states’ prohibition of a number of semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity ammunition magazines as constitutional. “Because the prohibitions are substantially related to the important governmental interests of public safety and crime reduction, they pass constitutional muster,” the decision reads.

The court, however, also struck down two provisions as unconstitutional: New York’s ban on loading more than seven bullets in a clip, and Connecticut’s outlawing of a non-semiautomatic rifle, the Remington 7615. Both Connecticut and New York moved to bolster their gun control laws, which are among the strongest in the nation, following the school shooting in Newtown. In 2013, New York passed the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE ACT) and Connecticut followed suit with “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety” months later. The laws faced legal challenges from gun owners, gun rights advocates, and associated groups. Gun rights groups in both New York and Connecticut say they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.