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Blue state’s gun control law ruled unconstitutional

A judge's gavel rests on a book of law. (Dreamstime/TNS)
November 24, 2023

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Maryland’s handgun licensing law Tuesday, as the court determined that the blue state’s gun control measure was in violation of the Second Amendment.

Current Maryland law forces individuals interested in purchasing a handgun to first obtain a “handgun qualification license, which requires residents to complete a four-hour firearm safety instruction class, complete a background investigation, and wait up to 30 days, according to The Daily Caller.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s law is not “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” which is the precedent the Supreme Court established in the recent New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen ruling.

The Daily Caller reported that Judge Julius Richardson, who was appointed by former President donald Trump, wrote the majority opinion in Tuesday’s ruling.

“In Maryland, if you are a law-abiding person who wants a handgun, you must wait up to thirty days for the state to give you its blessing,” Richardson stated. “Until then, there is nothing you can do; the issue is out of your control. Maryland has not shown that this regime is consistent with our Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

Richardson noted that Maryland’s handgun license requirement does not fall under the same category as other gun restriction laws that prevent criminals and dangerous individuals from purchasing weapons, since the state’s law does not draw a distinction between dangerous individuals interested in purchasing a handgun and the rest of the state’s population.

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“Instead, it prohibits all people from acquiring handguns until they can prove that they are not dangerous,” the judge said. “So Maryland’s law burdens all people—even if only temporarily— rather than just a class of people whom the state has already deemed presumptively dangerous.”

In a dissenting opinion, Senior Judge Barbara Milano Keenan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, argued, “the majority’s hyperaggressive view of the Second Amendment would render presumptively unconstitutional most non-discretionary laws in this country requiring a permit to purchase a handgun.”