The Weekly Reload Podcast

Examining the Supreme Court's Renewed Interest in AR-15 Bans With Author Mark W. Smith

May 8th, 2023

The Supreme Court is back in the spotlight because it showed a sign it might soon act on so-called assault weapons bans.

But the sign comes in the form of a complex legal maneuver that needs some explaining. That's why we have author and pro-gun lawyer Mark W. Smith on the show to suss out exactly what's going on and what it means.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees the Seventh Circuit, asked Naperville, Illinois, to defend its ban on AR-15s and similar firearms against an emergency request to block the law. Smith said that means she, and probably other members of the Court, may take the rare step of entering an emergency injunction. However, he said that likely depends on what happens with a sister case against Illinois' statewide ban.

Smith argued the common defenses of the bans are lacking. He said the Heller standard that guns in "common use for lawful purposes" can't be banned is the proper way to judge these cases. And he said it is clear AR-15s and the other firearms targetted by assault weapons bans are popular enough to be considered in "common use."

We also talk about Smith's new book Disarmed: What the Ukraine War Teaches Americans About the Right to Bear Arms. He explains why he thinks Ukraine made significant missteps in the lead-up to the Russian invasion by not arming civilians at large until just before hostilities broke out. But he argues Ukraine's newly-armed populous has helped repel the invaders, just as America's did several centuries ago.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the effects of Colorado's decade-long push to tighten its gun laws.