NRA Sues Maryland’s Governor Over Gun Restriction Laws

May 18, 2023 by Tom Ramstack
NRA Sues Maryland’s Governor Over Gun Restriction Laws
FILE - This Feb. 29, 2020 file photo, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2020, at the National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

BALTIMORE — The National Rifle Association sued Maryland’s governor this week to block new gun control laws that place tight restrictions on where guns can be carried. 

The laws ban guns from being carried anywhere close to schools, hospitals and other sensitive locations.

The NRA says the laws violate citizens’ First, Second and 14th Amendment rights.

The lawsuit appears to be aimed at holding off a series of similar gun control laws passed in several states following high-profile mass shootings.

So far this month, they have included eight people shot and killed at a Dallas, Texas, suburban shopping mall; an Oklahoma man who killed his wife, three children, two family friends, then himself; and a Cleveland, Texas, resident who killed five people in an angry dispute with neighbors.

Seven nations are urging caution for their citizens who plan to travel to the United States. Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela issued advisories about U.S. gun violence.

The governors of Colorado and Washington state recently signed new gun laws the NRA is condemning. Similar laws are expected to pass the legislatures of Illinois and Minnesota this year.

In Maryland, the local affiliate of the NRA disputes the validity of state laws SB 1 and HB 824.

SB 1 bans concealed weapons in schools, hospitals and government buildings as well as “special purpose areas” such as stadiums and museums.

HB 824 further restricts eligibility for gun permits. It raises the age to qualify for a permit from 18 to 21 years old and bans permits for anyone convicted of drunk driving. It also prohibits guns for persons with a history of violent mental disorders or anyone who violates a protective order.

When Democratic Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed the bills this week, he said, “Gun violence is tearing apart the fabric of our communities, not just through mass shootings but through shootings that are happening in each of our communities far too often.”

He pledged not to give up on addressing problems created by gun violence.

“In Maryland, we refuse to say these problems are too big or too tough,” Moore said at the bill-signing ceremony. “We will act, and that’s exactly what today represents.”

The NRA’s lawsuit relies heavily on last June’s landmark Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.

The ruling expanded the right of Americans to carry guns as a Second Amendment right. It significantly limited a state’s authority to prevent citizens from carrying firearms publicly for their self-defense.

The New York law the Supreme Court overruled essentially required gun permit applicants to demonstrate life-threatening circumstances.

Referring to the Maryland laws, the NRA lawsuit said, “These new laws … destroy 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 restrictions on where citizens can carry guns are so broad they effectively rule out the possibility of having a gun outside someone’s home, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit quotes the Bruen decision saying, “Nothing in the Second Amendment’s text draws a home/public distinction with respect to the right to keep and bear arms.” 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Susannah Kipke, a licensed firearms dealer, and the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc., the official state association of the NRA.

They asked a federal judge based in Baltimore for an injunction preventing the enforcement of SB 1 and HB 824.

The lawsuit is titled Susannah Kipke et al. v. Wes Moore et al., number 1:23-cv-01293, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

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