Despite being ruled unconstitutional, Maryland State Police will defy a federal appeals court ruling and continue to enforce the state’s handgun law.
Last week, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Handgun Qualification License law is “burdensome.” The judges deemed it would not hold up under last year’s stunning Second Amendment ruling, which found that a firearm regulation is unconstitutional unless the government can prove it is consistent with the nation’s historical tradition.
The panel also said it violated the right to “keep and bear arms” under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“The challenged law restricts the ability of law-abiding adult citizens to possess handguns, and the state has not presented a historical analog that justifies its restriction; indeed, it has seemingly admitted that it couldn’t find one,” Judge Julius Richardson, a Trump appointee, wrote in the ruling.
Maryland’s Handgun Qualification License law (HQL) requires residents to participate in a laborious process to purchase a handgun. The applicants must submit fingerprints, agree to a background check, take a four-hour firearm safety course complete with a live fire component, and then wait for approval for up to 30 days before purchasing a handgun. They must also obtain another license and submit to a seven-day waiting period.
However, the state’s police department refuses to protect the Second Amendment and will continue enforcing the draconian law.
“At this time, the HQL law remains in effect and there are no immediate changes in the process to purchase a firearm in Maryland,” the department wrote in an agency-wide advisory.
The NRA described Maryland’s HQL as a “draconian process,” saying that it infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.
State Gov. Wes Moore (D-MD.) said he would “continue to fight for this law,” adding that his office was exploring other options. At the same time, a spokesperson for Attorney General Anthony Brown (D) also said they are “weighing options for next steps.”
According to a Columbia Law School survey, the majority of Americans believe the Second Amendment gives people the right to keep a gun at home.
“At a base level, Americans believe in the right to bear arms and own a gun,” co-author of the survey Nathaniel Persily said.
Seventy-two percent of respondents say the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own a gun. In comparison, only 25 percent say the “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” found in the amendment is confined to forming a militia.