Although a federal court was clear that Maryland’s handgun qualification law is an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment, it’s still being enforced.
In late November, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law, noting that it failed the test imposed by the US. Supreme Court in its 2022 decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen, according to Maryland Matters.
“Maryland’s handgun qualification law is … the most severe of anywhere in the country by far,” Mark Pennak, president of Maryland Shall Issue, a party to the lawsuit. “It is the most burdensome of any enacted anywhere.”
But it is still the law, because the decision gave the state time to file an appeal with the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals before making its will official, which will happen in about two weeks.
🚨 BREAKING: Democrat-run Maryland will continue to enforce a wide-reaching handgun licensing law, even after a federal appeals court ruled that it was unconstitutional.
DEMOCRAT CORRUPTION AT ITS FINEST!!!https://t.co/eBPEcsUQzk
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) November 28, 2023
Until then, Maryland State Police issued guidance that said “the HQL law remains in effect and there are no immediate changes in the process to purchase a firearm in Maryland,” according to Fox News. The acronym stands for Handgun Qualification License, the official name of the hurdle that potential handgun purchasers must clear.
The law requires anyone wanting a handgun to submit fingerprints, have a background check, undergo a four-hour course that includes a live-fire exercise and then wait up to 30 days for the OK to buy the gun. Then comes another application and at least a seven-day waiting period.
As a result, the judges called the process “burdensome” in striking it down.
Do you support the actions of the police in enforcing this law?
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has said he would “continue to fight for this law,” while Attorney General Anthony Brown has said the state is “weighing options for next steps,” Fox News reported.
The NRA has called the law a “draconian process” and celebrated the Fourth Circuit ruling as a “significant victory for the Second Amendment and Americans who value constitutional freedoms.”
Maryland Republican Party Chairwoman Nicole Beus Harris has told WBFF-TV that she expects an appeal will be filed.
“Their decision to push this radical left, anti-gun agenda is political grandstanding, which does not save lives in Maryland, while they continue to ignore tough-on-crime measures that would help our citizens,” she said.
The ruling excoriated the process Maryland devised when passing the law in 2013.
“If you live in Maryland and you want a handgun, you must follow a long and winding path to get one,” the ruling said.
“The challenged law restricts the ability of law-abiding adult citizens to possess handguns, and the state has not presented a historical analogue that justifies its restriction; indeed, it has seemingly admitted that it couldn’t find one. Under the Supreme Court’s new burden-shifting test for these claims, Maryland’s law thus fails, and we must enjoin its enforcement,” the ruling said.
“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. Until then, there is nothing you can do; the issue is out of your control,” the ruling said.
“Maryland has not shown that this regime is consistent with our Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. There might well be a tradition of prohibiting dangerous people from owning firearms. But, under the Second Amendment, mechanism matters. And Maryland has not pointed to any historical laws that operated by preemptively depriving all citizens of firearms to keep them out of dangerous hands,” the decision read.