In a significant decision on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, a federal judge has temporarily halted sections of Maryland’s new gun legislation that limited where concealed firearms could be carried. The “Gun Safety Act of 2023” was set to go into effect on October 1.
The judge, an appointee of former President Obama, ruled against the state’s ban on carrying guns in places where alcohol is sold, on private property without the owner’s consent, and at public demonstrations. However, he upheld the restriction in “sensitive places” such as schools, museums, state parks, and mass transit systems.
The order and related 40-page opinion were issued following multiple legal challenges to the new law. The decision draws from a 2022 Supreme Court ruling that critiqued New York’s gun legislation and encouraged judges to consider historical perspectives on gun restrictions.
The “Gun Safety Act of 2023” prohibits anyone with a concealed carry permit from possessing a concealed gun within 100 feet of essentially any public space, unless explicitly permitted by the property owner. Violators faced potential penalties of up to 90 days in jail and fines of $1,000.
Proponents of the law, including various public safety advocates, hailed it as a significant step towards reducing gun violence, especially in crowded venues. They believe that creating gun-free zones would ensure a safer environment for the public.
Gun rights advocates, however, strongly oppose the legislation. Maryland Shall Issue, a prominent gun rights group, has argued that the law is an infringement upon Second Amendment rights. They point out that similar carry restrictions in New York and New Jersey have been declared unconstitutional.
Given that roughly 114,000 Marylanders currently possess valid concealed carry permits, the restrictions could have significantly reshaped their routines. Now, with Judge Russell’s decision, these individuals will need to remain particularly aware of the adjusted “gun-free zones.”
Notably, the legislation contains exemptions for certain groups, including active and retired law enforcement, military personnel, correctional officers, and private security guards. However, this has drawn criticism, with detractors suggesting it’s contradictory to trust public servants with firearms in public areas while restricting other licensed gun carriers.
Former Gov. Larry Hogan lifted Maryland’s restrictions on wearing and carrying a firearm last year following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Hogan directed the Maryland State Police to stop using the state’s “good and substantial reason” requirement when issuing permits to carry a handgun.
If you are facing charges over gun control and possession, an Ocean City gun charges lawyer can help. The attorneys at Maronick Law LLC have experience with Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh gun matters.
Maronick Law LLC is open during the pandemic and continues to meet your legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact the law office at 410-881-4022 or via our website for a free consultation.