Lawmakers in Maryland passed the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 to require residents to obtain a “handgun qualification license” to buy a gun, a process that could take up to 30 days.
Gun-rights advocates considered the requirement a violation of the Second Amendment and sued New York’s governor.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently ruled 2-1 that this requirement does violate the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
The panel cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen (2022), which struck down the state’s requirement for gun owners to show “proper cause” to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun outside their homes.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not a” second-class right.” The law also violated the Fourteenth Amendment “in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.”
The Fourth Circuit panel contended that Maryland’s law fails the new Bruen test.
“As we will explain, Plaintiffs have shown that Maryland’s handgun licensure law regulates a course of conduct protected by the Second Amendment, and Maryland has not established that the law is consistent with our Nation’s historical tradition,” the court wrote (PDF).
Fox News reported that the Maryland State Police’s licensing division said that it would continue to violate individuals’ Second Amendment right until the court issues a mandate.
Maryland officials have 14 days to file for a rehearing before the full appeals court. If the state does not file within that window, the court will issue a mandate seven days later, which means the final court ruling would be Dec. 11, Fox45 News reported.
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