Court gavel

NRA-ILA-backed lawsuit challenges Maryland’s unconstitutional carry restrictions filed in federal court

Maryland has become the latest state to defy the United States Supreme Court’s Bruen decision with the passage of SB 1 and HB 824. It has also become the latest state to get hit with an NRA-ILA backed lawsuit challenging those restrictions.

Just one month after Bruen was decided, a Maryland court found it was “self-evident” that Maryland’s carry permitting regime was also unconstitutional. “In response to—and in defiance of—” those court rulings, “Maryland enacted Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 824,” the lawsuit alleges. “Through these bills, Maryland replaced one blatantly unconstitutional licensing regime with another blatantly unconstitutional licensing regime.” The state has “destroyed the right recognized in Bruen—the right of ordinary, law-abiding citizens to bear arms for self-defense outside the home—in the state of Maryland.” The state effectively went from a regime where nobody could legally carry to one where there is nowhere to legally carry.

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Maryland law already prohibited carrying in state parks and forests, state highway rest areas, state transit facilities, public school properties, state public buildings, property controlled by the Maryland Racing Commission, the Camden Yards Sports Complex, a video lottery facility, a museum operated by the Department of Planning, and any public demonstration, including a vehicle within 1,000 feet of the demonstration. These bills expand the list of prohibited places further to include areas for children and vulnerable individuals, health care facilities, public infrastructure, locations where alcohol or cannabis is sold for on-site consumption regardless if the individual is consuming those products, stadiums, museums, amusement parks, racetracks, and private property where the owner has not expressly informed individuals that they are allowed to carry on the property.

These bills also make getting a carry license more burdensome. It raised the application fee from $75 to $125 for initial applications, and from $50 to $75 for renewals. Applicants must now submit two sets of fingerprints. There are new subjective character requirements. The training course is also now more burdensome, and an eight-hour course must be completed every three years when the license is renewed. Worst of all, there are no deadlines by which a permit application must be approved.

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In total, Marylanders now must go through an unduly burdensome and lengthy application process to get a carry permit that effectively does not permit them to carry anywhere in the state. This cannot stand under the Constitution.

The case is captioned Kipke v. Moore. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. NRA’s state affiliate, the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, is also a Plaintiff to the case.

© 2023 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

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