WASHINGTON, June 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals of state bans on semi-automatic weapons in New York and Connecticut amid resurgent debates on gun control following the Orlando, Fla., massacre.
The court's decision to not hear the two appeals -- Shew v. Malloy and Kampfer v. Cuomo -- upholds federal appeals court rulings in which judges found the bans were constitutional.
Connecticut's semi-automatic weapon ban was signed into law on April 2013, four months after the Sandy Hook massacre in which 20 children and six school employees were killed by Adam Lanza. The law expanded an existing ban by outlawing dozens of rifle models able to hold high-capacity ammunition.
June Shew, a gun sports enthusiast in his 80s, challenged the Connecticut law that prohibits 183 specific weapons -- calling the measure "irrational."
California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York have variations of assault weapons bans.
Although the Sig Sauer MCX rifle used in the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando is not specifically banned in Connecticut or New York, the language of the laws can potentially cover the weapon. Forty-nine people were killed in the June 12 rampage by lone gunman Omar Mateen.
"These guns have an established track record of disproportionate use in the most serious gun crime incidents -- mass shootings and killing of law enforcement," Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said when arguing the Supreme Court should not hear the case.