Second Amendment advocates find themselves in a constant game of Whac-A-Mole with pro-gun control officials, working to get the courts to invalidate a seemingly endless barrage of state laws that seek to prevent citizens from having the practical ability to bear arms. firearm legally.
The US Supreme Court ruled last year in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen that the Second Amendment prohibits state or local governments from requiring applicants to demonstrate “special need” to issue a concealed carry permit.
States that included this requirement were known as “can issue” states; others were called “shall issue” states.
That sent “may issue” jurisdictions rushing to change their concealed carry laws to comply with Bruen, while limiting the right to carry, despite the plain language of the Second Amendment stating that “the right of persons to possess and bear arms will not be infringed.”
Maryland was one of those “can issue” states, and concealed carry requests there skyrocketed in response to Bruen.
“The Maryland State Police have received 11 times the usual number of new permit applications since the court struck down state provisions requiring gun owners to demonstrate a special need to carry a firearm for self-defense,” it reported. The Washington Post.
But while newly elected Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat in a Democratic-controlled state, eased the restrictions on getting a permit, he tightened them elsewhere — namely, where a person can transport.
“Gun violence is tearing at the fabric of our communities, not only through mass shootings, but also through shootings that occur in each of our communities far too frequently,” Moore said at a signing ceremony for a bill of law. “In Maryland, we refuse to say that these problems are too big or too difficult.”
Due to the new restrictions, the Second Amendment Foundation, a national gun rights organization based in Bellevue, Washington, filed a federal lawsuit last week.
“They are trying to mimic and mimic what New York and New Jersey did,” SAF founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb told Newsmax. “They’ll issue a ticket, but once you’ve got it, it’s no good anywhere.”
“It has a chilling effect on getting gun permits, what good is a permit if you can’t use it?”
In some cases, a legally licensed concealed baggage carrier could face felony charges if they wandered into the wrong area while armed.
SAF also filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey law with essentially the same restrictions and won a preliminary injunction in that case last week.
“The Constitution leaves states with some measures to combat gun violence,” US District Court Chief Judge Renee Marie Bumb wrote in her 235-page ruling. “But what the Second Amendment prohibits states from doing, and what the State of New Jersey has done here with much of Chapter 131, is ‘prevent law-abiding citizens with ordinary needs for self-defense from exercising their right to to have and to have arms.’ That is clearly unconstitutional.”
A federal district court also struck down the New York restrictions.
But Gottlieb thinks Maryland may be a tougher nut to crack.
“I don’t know if that will happen in Maryland because, frankly, they have a pretty good judge from their point of view,” he said.
But the trial court is just the first step in what could be a long road that leads back to the United States Supreme Court.
“But eventually we’re going to win this,” Gottlieb said. “And I’m sure that as far as these so-called ‘sensitive locations’ type laws, the Supreme Court will accept them.”
Gottlieb sees some of the current state laws as analogous to mockery “because basically what they’re doing is sticking their finger in the Supreme Court’s eye.”
“They have almost made these new laws worse than the old law,” he said.
Sure, an applicant had to jump through more hoops to get a permit, but once issued, you could carry a concealed firearm almost anywhere.
In addition to New York, New Jersey and Maryland, Gottlieb predicts that other blue states will soon enact similar measures, specifically citing California as a possible candidate.
“There is no well-established and representative historical analogue for the carry bans included in SB1, which appears to be in direct conflict with the Supreme Court directive set forth in Bruen,” Adam Kraut, SAF executive director, said in a statement from press. “The new law prohibits the carrying allowed in establishments where alcohol is served, in health establishments and even in museums. These restrictions are apparently unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, forcing us to take this action in court.”
SAF joins his lawsuit by the Maryland Shall Issue, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and three private Maryland citizens, all of whom hold “carry and use permits.”
Gun advocates point out that what makes the new law especially egregious is that it applies to only one class of people: law-abiding citizens. The criminal element need not feel hampered by the restrictions of SB1.
Just last year, the Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana, was the scene of an incident in which a legal concealed luggage carrier failed to strictly comply with the law.
Elisjsha “Eli” Dicken was carrying a firearm while shopping with her girlfriend, unaware that the mall was a no-gun zone.
An armed man entered the same shopping center, armed with several semi-automatic weapons and several loaded magazines.
The gunman then went to the mall’s food court and opened fire.
But the rampage came to an abrupt halt 15 seconds later when Dicken shot and killed the gunman.
“Many more people would have been killed last night if it hadn’t been for a responsible armed citizen who acted quickly in the first two minutes of the shooting,” Greenwood Police Chief James Ison said during a news conference.
The National Rifle Association agreed.
“We’ll say it again: the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” the NRA tweeted.
However, states like Maryland, New York and New Jersey want to remove that element of a “nice guy with a gun,” Gottlieb said.
“Now you are penalizing the permit holders and not the criminals,” he said.
As a result, the law “is definitely making Maryland less safe, because it doesn’t stop criminals from misusing guns. It just prevents law-abiding people from fighting back.”