2A Win: Federal Court Strikes Down Restrictive Handgun Law in Maryland

2A Win: Federal Court Strikes Down Restrictive Handgun Law in Maryland

Two hundred and thirty-two years ago this Dec. 15, the U.S. ratified the Bill of Rights. Yet, apparently, the American left still hasn’t gotten to the part in the Second Amendment that says “shall not be infringed.”

Judges, however, tend to be more assiduous readers. That’s why plenty of gun control measures have fallen in federal courts over the past few years, including the latest to get struck down: Maryland’s handgun licensing law.

Here’s the rule on the Maryland State Police’s website:

“Unless otherwise exempt, as of October 1, 2013, a Maryland resident must possess a valid Handgun Qualification License before he/she may purchase, rent, or receive a handgun.”

Those who wished to purchase a handgun had to undergo four hours of safety training, undergo a background check and submit their fingerprints to the state.

According to WRC-TV, however, the law was struck down Tuesday by the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“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 in a 2-1 decision.

The ruling noted that the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 seemed determined to circumvent the right to “keep and bear” arms.


“On its face, the challenged law says nothing about whether Plaintiffs may ‘keep’ or ‘bear’ handguns. It only restricts Plaintiffs’ ability to ‘purchase, rent, or receive’ them. How, then, does the law regulate the right to keep and bear arms?

“The answer is not complicated. If you do not already own a handgun, then the only way to ‘keep’ or ‘bear’ one is to get one, either through sale, rental, or gift,” the judges ruled. “And the challenged law cuts off all three avenues — at least, for those who do not comply with its terms.”

According to The Baltimore Banner, the law was enacted in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

However, it was also codified before the influential 2022 Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which broadened Second Amendment rights more generally.

Gun rights groups celebrated the decision.

Mark Pennak, president of Maryland Shall Issue and a lawyer for the plaintiffs, recalled how he testified to lawmakers before the enactment of the bill that it ran afoul of the Second Amendment.

“I told them then, in written and oral testimony, it was unconstitutional. They didn’t believe me then, so we filed suit,” he told the Banner.

“It’s gratifying to see that I was correct,” he continued, adding that “it’s a big win for the fundamental rights of Marylanders to acquire a handgun for self-defense.”

Gun-grabbers, predictably, were hopping mad.

Brian Frosh helped introduce the law in 2013 as a state senator — and defended it in court after moving on up in the world to become the state’s attorney general.

He said the verdict is “so wrongheaded it defies description.”

“It’s not just that they failed to use a wide-angle lens to look at the policy that underlies the law. It’s that they look through the wrong end of the telescope at it,” he said.

No, Mr. Frosh. Here’s what they did. First, they read the Second Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Then, they looked at the body of jurisprudence on the matter, particularly in the wake of Bruen. And then they applied the Constitution.

Nearly a quarter of a millennium and progressives still can’t get the “shall not be infringed” part down. We can only hope they get that far into the text by our country’s quincentennial.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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