(RepublicanNews.org) – A Democratic state’s police force will continue to enforce an unconstitutional handgun law despite a federal appeals court ruling.
Maryland State Police will not impose any immediate changes to the process to purchase a handgun in the state, according to a department letter last week. The law concerned is the Handgun Qualification License (HQL), which requires a lengthy and convoluted process to purchase a firearm. Applicants must submit fingerprints, take a four-hour course, and wait 30 days before purchasing a firearm which itself requires another application and another week of waiting.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the overly “burdensome” in a 2-1 vote earlier in November. Alas, it cannot stand under a Supreme Court decision in 2022 which states that firearm regulation is unconstitutional if it is not consistent with historical tradition.
Despite the ruling, Maryland State Police’s licensing division will continue to enforce the law until a mandate is issued by the federal court.
Under the state’s processes, Maryland officials have a fortnight to appeal before a full rehearing can be granted. Without a request for a rehearing, the court’s mandate will be enforced seven days after the cutoff which is December 11th.
However, the state can also appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court, although no official position has been indicated so far. Maryland Gov. Wes Moore vowed to “continue to fight” for the HQL, adding that his administration was exploring all avenues. Were Maryland to pursue this route, Attorney General Anthony Brown’s office must appeal by December 21st.
The “draconian” HQL has been previously criticized by gun rights advocates including the NRA, who described the ruling as a “significant victory” for the Second Amendment. NRA executive director Randy Kozuch praised the ruling against the “oppressive” law which infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens due to its “burdensome process”.
State Republicans also praised the decision, accusing the Democrats of “grandstanding”. In turn, Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson claimed the decision would “unequivocally” lead to an increase in gun violence.
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