Blue State Will Continue To Enforce Handgun Law Even After It Was Declared Unconstitional

Maryland State Police will continue to enforce a wide-reaching handgun licensing law for the time being, even after a federal appeals court ruled that it was unconstitutional.

Maryland’s Handgun Qualification License (HQL) requires applicants requires residents to submit to a rigorous process in order to purchase a handgun. Applicants must submit fingerprints, agree to a background check, take a four-hour firearm safety course complete with a live fire component, and then wait for approval for up to 30 days before purchasing a handgun. Maryland residents are then required to obtain another license and submit to a seven-day waiting period.

Last Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the law is overly “burdensome” and cannot stand under last year’s landmark Second Amendment ruling. In June 2022, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that similar handgun restrictions in New York were unconstitutionally restrictive.

In order for the law to stand, Maryland’s government would need to prove that it is consistent with the nation’s tradition and history.

“The challenged law restricts the ability of law-abiding adult citizens to possess handguns, and the state has not presented a historical analogue that justifies its restriction; indeed, it has seemingly admitted



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