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Are Maryland’s Gun Laws Unconstitutional?

Last week, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law that placed strict limits on carrying concealed guns outside the home. In a 6-3 ruling, the Court found the state’s requirement that people seeking a concealed carry permit demonstrate a special need to possess a firearm to be unconstitutional.

Delivering the majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees. We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”

As a result of this ruling, New York legislators are now scrambling to revise the state’s gun laws. The fallout is unlikely to end there, though.

Maryland law currently states that anybody who wishes to obtain a Wear and Carry Permit must have “a good and substantial reason​ to wear, carry, or transport a handgun.” People who simply want to carry a firearm for “personal protection” are required to provide “documented evidence of recent threats, robberies, and/or assaults supported by official police reports or notarized statements from witnesses.”

Attorney General Brian Frosh refers to this law as a “common sense” measure designed to limit gun violence and keep residents safe. However, it seems strikingly similar to the law that was struck down by the Supreme Court. If New York’s regulations are unconstitutional, it’s likely that Maryland’s are as well.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson certainly seem to think so. They have issued a statement which says, “We will be reviewing the opinion and, if necessary, pass legislation that protects Marylanders and complies with this brand-new precedent.”

It seems like it’s just a matter of time before Maryland passes new, less restrictive gun laws.

No matter what happens, though, the attorneys of Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake will always be here to help Marylanders fight firearm charges. If you were recently arrested, now possibly unconstitutionally, and need an experienced lawyer on your side, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (410) 927-5137. We’re available 24/7!