A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down Maryland’s handgun licensing law, finding that its requirements, which include submitting fingerprints for a background check and taking a four-hour firearms safety course, are unconstitutionally restrictive.
In a 2-1 ruling, judges on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said they considered the case in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that “effected a sea change in Second Amendment law.”
The 4th Circuit opinion by Judge Julius Richardson directly references the Supreme Court decision last year that found Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. That ruling, which also came after a series of mass shootings, ushered in a major expansion of gun rights.
It also required gun laws to fall in line with the country’s “historical tradition of firearm regulation.” In this case, Richardson and Judge G. Steven Agee found no evidence of such alignment.
Even though Maryland’s law doesn’t prohibit people from “owning handguns at some time in the future, it still prohibits them from owning handguns now,” Richardson wrote. “And the law’s waiting period could well be the critical time in which the applicant expects to face danger.”
I started reading the opinion, and I’m going to do a deeper dive into this when I have more time over the holiday weekend.
At first glance, the decision relied on Bruen, arguing that burdensome restrictions on concealed-carry are a Constitutional violation.
The beauty of such a decision is that it give ammunition to kill the concealed-carry laws passed after Bruen in New York, New Jersey, ND elsewhere.
If a state law is shall issue but overly onerous, it’s still in violation of Bruen.
I hope that following this decision, lawsuits are brought against other states, and ultimately, if I’m allowed to fantasize, SCOTUS establishes something very close to national constitutional carry.
A man can dream.