In a ruling that turns Maryland's restrictive gun laws upside down, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a law that requires potential handgun owners to go through a qualification process is unconstitutional.
Judge Julius N. Richardson reversed a lower court ordering upholding Maryland's "handgun qualification license" requirement.
He wrote in his opinion; "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. And the challenged law cuts off all three avenues -- at least, for those who do not comply with its terms."
The case had been filed in 2016 by the gun advocacy group Maryland Shall Issue. Their argument was the process was cumbersome and inaccessible to the average citizen, thus restricting their 2nd Amendment Rights.
According to the 2013 law passed by Maryland's Legislature:
The Maryland law added a state-level background check, 4-hours of safety training, finger printing through MSP’s “LiveScan” technology and a series of additional fees in order to get an HQL License.
The legislation also required a 7-day handgun purchase waiting period after applying with the state.
As expected, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Democrat, opined to WBFF Channel 45 about the decision:
Governor Moore is disappointed in the Fourth Circuit Court’s decision. The law is not about stripping away rights from responsible gun owners – it’s about every Marylander having the right to live free from fear.
Proponents of the 2nd Amendment say that this overturning of the law does exactly that, allows citizens to defend themselves and live free from fear.