Maryland law prohibits the purchase and possession of commonly possessed semi-automatic firearms categorized as “assault weapons,” unless they were possessed prior to October 1, 2013. The law defines “assault weapons” to include, among other things, semi-automatic rifles with the capacity to accept a detachable magazine coupled with at least two of the following characteristics: a pistol grip, a flash suppressor, or a grenade/flare launcher. The law also bans certain firearms by name.
On March 9, 2021, the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit, along with two other civil rights organizations, a firearms retailer, and three individuals. The lawsuit asks a federal court to declare that the ban violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments and enjoin the Defendants from enforcing the ban.
Maryland’s law was previously challenged prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, in which the Fourth Circuit upheld the law as constitutional after a warped analysis and balancing away the interests of the people. This litigation was started as a good faith attempt to have the Fourth Circuit and/or Supreme Court revisit the issue as Maryland’s law violates the Second Amendment rights of its residents by denying them the ability to acquire and keep arms that are in common use for lawful purposes. The Government cannot ban those arms simply because they do not like the features that they may possess, particularly since they are not dangerous and unusual. Bruen, which was decided while this case was on appeal, reaffirmed that the law should not survive.
Case Team: Nicole Moss, John Ohlendorf, Peter Patterson, David Thompson, and Raymond DiGuiseppe
To access all of the case documents at the District Court, please visit the docket.