Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who led the push for the law in 2013 as a state senator, said it's 'unthinkable that these weapons of war, weapons that caused the carnage in Newtown and in other communities across the country, would be protected by the Second Amendment.'
'It's a very strong opinion, and it has national significance, both because it's en-banc and for the strength of its decision,' Frosh said, noting that all of the court's judges participated.
'Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war,' wrote Judge Robert King.
Judge William Traxler issued a dissent, writing the decision 'has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.'
National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said, 'It is absurd to hold that the most popular rifle in America is not a protected 'arm' under the Second Amendment.'
She added that the majority opinion 'clearly ignores the Supreme Court's guidance from District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects arms that are 'in common use at the time for lawful purposes like self-defense.'
The NRA estimates there are 5 million to 10 million AR-15s - one of the weapons banned under Maryland's law - in circulation in the United States for lawful purposes. When asked about an appeal, Baker said the NRA is exploring all options.
But Elizabeth Banach, executive director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, said the decision is 'overwhelming proof that reasonable measures to prevent gun violence are constitutional.'
'Maryland's law needs to become a national model of evidence-based policies that will reduce gun violence,' Banach wrote in a statement.
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