By Andrew Chung
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court, which had avoided major gun cases for seven years, on Monday declined to hear a challenge backed by the National Rifle Association to Maryland's 2013 state ban on assault weapons enacted after a Connecticut school massacre.
The court turned away an appeal by several Maryland residents, firearms dealers and the state NRA association, who argued that the ban violated their right to keep and bear arms under the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment.
The justices sidestepped the roiling national debate over the availability of military-style guns to the public.
The case focused on weapons that have become a recurring feature in U.S. mass shootings including the Nov. 5 attack at a Texas church that killed 26 people, the Oct. 1 attack at a Las Vegas concert that killed 58 people, and the 2012 massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, which prompted Maryland's law.
Assault weapons are popular among gun enthusiasts.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)