SCOTUS Won’t Hear Challenge to Connecticut Assault Weapon Ban

PHOTO: In this Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, assault weapons and hand guns displayed for sale in Springfield, Ill. PlaySeth Perlman/AP Photo
WATCH SCOTUS Won't Hear Challenge to Conn. Assault Weapon Ban

The Supreme Court said today it would not hear a challenge to an assault weapons ban in Connecticut, letting the ruling of a lower court stand.

The Connecticut weapons ban was enacted in the wake of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown -- which killed 20 children and six adults.

The law bans the sale of military-style semiautomatic weapons and magazines that hold 10 rounds or more. The ban was challenged by gun rights activists, who argued that the law violates the Second Amendment.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said in a statement, "We appreciate the Supreme Court's action today. It should be a demonstration to states across the nation that common sense gun laws not only work — they are constitutional. We must stand up against mass shootings. We cannot sit idly by and watch tragedy after tragedy, horror after horror. During tragic times, we acted. When we saw wrong, we did what was right. After enduring a moment as a state that shook our collective conscience and jolted the soul, we banded together and stood up for common sense. We passed one of the toughest, one of the smartest gun laws in the nation. As today shows, common sense has prevailed.”

Scott Wilson Sr. President of The Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League, one of the challengers, pledged to continue the fight” We fully intend to renew our challenge to Connecticut’s blatantly unconstitutional ban as soon as there are five Justices.” Wilson defended the plaintiffs position “the firearms the State has chosen to ban are very frequently used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes such as home-defense, hunting, and target shooting. In fact, one of the banned firearms, the AR-15, is the best-selling rifle in the United States.”

Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA and the author of “Gun Fight” said today’s decision was not unexpected. “The Supreme Court decision today was no surprise. They have avoided taking any Second Amendment cases for five years," he told ABC News.

"In the case of assault weapons, the court was uninterested in taking a case even when Justice [Antonin] Scalia was alive," he added.

Last December, the Supreme Court denied hearing a similar case from a Chicago suburb. Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Scalia, wrote an angry dissent, accusing his peers of allowing the lower courts to "relegate the Second Amendment to a second class right."

Thomas did not offer any comment on today’s decision.