Hearing tomorrow to challenge new gun laws in Maryland

New gun laws go into effect tomorrow in Maryland, but will the courts block the restrictions?


WASHINGTON, September 30, 2013 — Controversial gun laws are set to be enacted tomorrow, October 1, 2013 in Maryland. The new laws require fingerprinting to purchase a handgun, as well as firearms safety training.

In response, a coalition of groups including the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association, gun shop owners, and others have filed a lawsuit challenging the law. The U.S. District Court in Baltimore has set the hearing on the issue to take place the same day the law is enacted. The hearing will decide on a motion to block the new requirements from coming into effect.

In filing the lawsuit, the groups are set to rely on a 2nd Amendment argument, arguing that the new laws are a violation of the U.S. Constitution.  The lawsuit quotes the Supreme Court decision from District of Columbia v. Heller, which overturned Washington D.C. gun laws, which were known for being particularly stringent.

Expecting a challenge to the law, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler wrote and issued a lengthy legal analysis of the law, finding that it does not violate any constitutional protections. Attorney General Gansler’s opinion may be considered in the hearing, however it is not binding upon the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, which is free to deny the motion to block the law, or conversely, accept the motion and temporarily halt the enforcement of the law as until the resolution of a more drawn out trial.

Representing the coalition of gun advocates are two attorneys from the Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP (BABC) law firm, John Parker Sweeney and T. Sky Woodward, who have won accolades for their work, and have been listed in the Maryland Super Lawyers journal and ranking list.

The law was initially proposed and then later signed into effect by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, in response to the Newton, Connecticut shootings late last year, which resulted in significant deaths at an elementary school.

“The vast majority of Marylanders support these common-sense efforts to reduce gun violence. The new law will take effect on Tuesday and it will make families safer,” said O’Malley spokeswoman Samantha Kappalman to Associated Press.

In addition, the new law will ban forty five specific guns, adding them to a list of banned weapons, and require that handgun magazine carry no more than ten rounds.


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Rahat Husain
Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues. In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.