In 2022, the conservative-dominated Supreme Court broadened the scope of gun rights through its decision in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. This ruling led to the overturning of a long-standing concealed carry law in New York City and introduced a fresh standard for the judicial assessment of gun regulations nationwide.
Maryland was among the states affected by this ruling, prompting the state legislature to enact new legislation. However, it’s worth noting that a federal judge has recently intervened, halting a portion of the gun ban in place.
Previously, Maryland required residents to furnish a strong and legitimate justification for obtaining a gun permit, mirroring the now-overturned regulation in New York. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, this requirement was nullified, leading to a nearly threefold surge in the issuance of gun permits in less than a year. In response to this development, the Democratic Party-led legislature introduced a fresh piece of legislation called the Gun Safety Act of 2023, which imposes restrictions on carrying concealed firearms in specific settings.
Governor Wes Moore, a Democrat, officially endorsed this law in May. However, this progressive achievement faced a brief existence, as the National Rifle Association (NRA) swiftly initiated legal proceedings contesting the law.
On September 29th, Judge George L. Russell III, who was nominated to the US District Court by former President Barack Obama, rendered a judgment that invalidated a portion of the law. In his ruling, he determined that the state lacked the authority to forbid the possession of firearms during public demonstrations, in establishments where alcohol is available, or on private property without the owner’s consent.
Russell’s decision was grounded in the 2022 Bruen precedent, which mandates that judges consider historical legal frameworks in matters concerning gun regulations. Although he invalidated a segment of the law, he upheld the restrictions on individuals carrying firearms at healthcare and mass transit facilities, museums, government buildings, stadiums, amusement parks, state parks and forests, and school premises.
This ruling was based on the judge’s findings that legislation dating back to the era when the Second Amendment was ratified prohibited firearms in analogous or closely analogous locations.
In the meantime, Governor Moore conveyed to the media that his administration is firmly dedicated to collaborating energetically with the state legislature, community figures, and others to combat the issue of gun violence. The remaining sections of the law became enforceable on October 1st.