Another gun law falls, Maryland’s 30-day ‘qualification license’

Gun Rights

Poorly written and reasoned liberal gun control laws continue to fail in the nation’s courts, the latest being Maryland’s “handgun qualification license.”

Today, the mid-Atlantic’s 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the license not only violates the Second Amendment and a subsequent Supreme Court decision but was poorly argued and researched.


“Maryland’s law fails,” the 41-page decision said.

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It is the latest gun control scheme pushed by liberal states and the Biden administration to get shot down in courts throughout America. A week ago, a key federal court in Texas threw out a new limit on the purchase of AR-15 pistols, and several courts have ruled against gun purchase limits and those also tied to cartridge magazines used in semi-automatic weapons.

Gun groups hailed the decision against Maryland, one of the most gun-unfriendly states in the nation.

“BREAKING NEWS: Fourth Circuit Court Overturns Maryland’s Unconstitutional Gun License Law in HUGE NRA-Backed Victory,” the National Rifle Association posted on X.

The group Maryland Shall Issue, which brought suit against the state, said, “We are pleased to announce that the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has just ruled that Maryland’s Handgun Qualification License requirement is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.”

Another group that supported Maryland Shall Issue, the Firearms Policy Coalition, posted on X, “Great work!”

An appeal is expected. It was the second time appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling on the Maryland provisions.

In question was Maryland’s plan to put a very long waiting period on handgun purchases by first requiring future purchasers to qualify for a gun license. That is a 30-day process. Then it added a seven-day waiting period during which a background check is done. The state also requires a separate permit to carry a pistol.

The court said the 30-day license violated the immediacy of purchase envisioned in the Second Amendment.

“Under the challenged scheme, an applicant without a firearm cannot possess or carry one until they are approved — a process that can take thirty days,” the court said. “And the law’s waiting period could well be the critical time in which the applicant expects to face danger. So the temporary deprivation that plaintiffs allege is a facially plausible Second Amendment violation.”

And it said the Maryland license requirement violated the Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen decision that requires the state to show that its gun law is “consistent with this nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” Maryland didn’t, per the court.

“In Maryland, if you are a law-abiding person who wants a handgun, you must wait up to thirty days for the state to give you its blessing,” the court said in its conclusion. “Until then, there is nothing you can do; the issue is out of your control. Maryland has not shown that this regime is consistent with our nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. There might well be a tradition of prohibiting dangerous people from owning firearms. But, under the Second Amendment, mechanism matters. And Maryland has not pointed to any historical laws that operated by preemptively depriving all citizens of firearms to keep them out of dangerous hands. Plaintiffs’ challenge thus must succeed, and the district court’s contrary decision must be reversed.”


Cam Edwards, the editor of the Bearing Arms website, said he expects Gov. Wes Moore (D-MD) to figure out a way to keep the law alive without having it face an appeal before pro-Second Amendment judges on the Supreme Court.

“I can’t imagine that Attorney General Anthony Brown and Gov. Wes Moore are going to simply accept the panel’s conclusion, but they now have a choice to make: ask the Fourth Circuit to re-hear the case en banc, or appeal directly to the Supreme Court,” he wrote. “With Democrats (and activist judges) around the country trying to play ‘keep away from SCOTUS’ when it comes to Second Amendment cases, I suspect that the AG will go for an en banc review, but we’ll likely know one way or the other in the next week or so.”

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