Personal Freedoms

published : 2023-11-28

Maryland State Police to Continue Enforcing 'Draconian' Handgun Law Ruled Unconstitutional by Court

Despite Federal Appeals Court Ruling, State's Handgun Licensing Requirement Remains in Effect

High school students participating in shooting sports, taken with a Nikon D850

Shooting sports are gaining popularity among high schoolers across the United States, despite conflicting attitudes toward guns.

Maryland State Police will continue enforcing the state's handgun law for now, despite a federal appeals court ruling that the licensing requirement is unconstitutional.

The law, known as the Handgun Qualification License (HQL), requires applicants to submit fingerprints for a background check, take a four-hour firearm safety course with a live fire component, and wait up to 30 days for approval before purchasing a handgun.

Maryland State Police officers enforcing the handgun law, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Last week, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the HQL law is overly burdensome and unconstitutional.

The court's majority opinion stated that the law restricts the rights of law-abiding citizens without providing a historical justification.

However, the Maryland State Police's licensing division stated that they will continue enforcing the law until a federal court issues a mandate.

Protesters advocating for gun rights outside the U.S. Capitol, taken with a Sony A7III

Maryland officials have the option to file for a rehearing before the full appeals court within 14 days, or seek a review before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Governor Wes Moore has expressed his intention to continue fighting for the law, while the attorney general's office is weighing its options.

Gun rights advocates, including the NRA, have hailed the court's ruling as a victory for the Second Amendment and individual freedoms.