A Smith & Wesson M&P15 Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

A national gun rights group has appealed an August decision by a federal court judge in New Haven, denying a request to halt Connecticut’s ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. 

The National Association for Gun Rights has asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to review a decision by U.S. District Court of Connecticut Judge Janet Bond Arterton, declining to issue a temporary injunction to bar the enforcement of Connecticut firearm policies adopted in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

“Did the district court err when it denied Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction enjoining Connecticut’s ‘assault weapons’ ban and ‘high capacity magazine ban’ when the undisputed evidence was that the banned weapons are in common use by laws-abiding citizens for lawful purposes?” lawyer Barry Arrington wrote in court documents related to the appeal. 

The court has set a Nov. 22 deadline to file briefs in the appeal, which follows a 74-page decision by Arterton, who found that the group had failed to demonstrate constitutional violations in Connecticut’s prohibition of certain semiautomatic weapons and magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds. 

Instead, the judge concluded that the prohibited weapons were not often used for self defense and posed a danger to the public. 

“[The state had demonstrated] that when a modern innovation in firearm technology results in a particular type of weapon or method of carrying being utilized for unlawful purposes to terrorize and endanger the public, the Nation has a longstanding history and tradition of regulating those aspects of the weapons or manners of carry that correlate with rising firearm violence,” the judge wrote. 

The lawsuit by the Colorado-based group is one of two complaints to challenge the Connecticut law in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021 ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen, which required that regulations be “consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” 

Arterton also denied a similar request to suspend the law by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League

Last week, attorneys in that case, including Republican state Reps. Doug Dubitsky and Craig Fishbein, filed motions asking the court to keep confidential certain testimony offered by individual plaintiffs, which detailed the number and types of guns they own as well as where and how they store them. 

“Compelling the Plaintiffs to reveal to the world exactly how and where they store their firearms is essentially akin to commanding them to tell every prospective criminal in the world how to steal their firearms,” they wrote. “Stolen firearms would inevitably lead to far more serious crimes such as murders and assaults.”

Attorneys for the state disagreed in separate court filings, arguing that there was nothing to suggest that the plaintiffs had a legitimate expectation of privacy regarding facts which they put at issue through the lawsuit. 

“All Plaintiffs claim that they require assault weapons in order to defend themselves; any information which bears upon their ability to defend themselves—including how many and what types of firearms they currently own—is relevant and useful to the Court,” Assistant Attorney General Janelle Medeiros wrote.

The two parties have also disagreed on whether the court should seal testimony from one of the plaintiffs who experienced domestic abuse and did not want the details of that abuse to become public.