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Denver conservative think tanks weigh in on Mass. assault rifle ban

Author: Joey Bunch - August 31, 2018 - Updated: September 3, 2018

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Jimmy Sengenberger, left, and Joseph G.S. Greenlee of the Millennial Policy Center. (Photos courtesy of the Millennial Policy Center)

The Denver-based Millennial Policy Center and Independence Institute, two conservative think tanks, have something to say about a court fight over gun laws in Massachusetts.

The case is before the First Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge ruled in April that the weapons, including the AR-15, and high-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment.

“In banning many semi-automatic rifles and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, Massachusetts bans some of the most popular arms in the country,” stated Joseph G.S. Greenlee, a fellow in constitutional studies and firearms policy for the Millennial Policy Center, who filed the brief.

“The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects arms ‘in common use.’ In other words, the Second Amendment reserves to the people, rather than the government, the decision of which arms the people may select for self-defense and other lawful purposes. By taking that decision away from the people, Massachusetts violated Supreme Court precedent and the Second Amendment.”

In his April ruling, however, U.S. District Judge William Young in Boston said popularity doesn’t matter.

[T]he AR-15’s present-day popularity is not constitutionally material,” he wrote in his ruling. “This is because the words of our Constitution are not mutable. They mean the same today as they did 227 years ago when the Second Amendment was adopted.”

The Millennial Policy Center’s full brief can be read by clicking here.

The Cato Institute, Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms and 11 professors of Second Amendment law also signed on the brief for the appeals court to consider.

The Millennial Policy Center is a youth-focused think tank aimed at young conservatives.

“Young Americans are the heirs to the nation’s future, and the Millennial Policy Center is determined to represent the ongoing interests of the younger generations,” Jimmy Sengenberger, the center’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “This is an important federal case that can have lasting, reverberating and national consequences, potentially leading to a Supreme Court decision. Whether it concerns gun rights, higher education costs or other constitutional liberties and policy issues, we will consistently engage in discourse on the critical issues of the day.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.