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Everytown Law Defends Anne Arundel County, Maryland’s Gun Store Suicide Warning Against a 1st Amendment Challenge

11.1.2022

Everytown Law is proud to represent Anne Arundel County, Maryland in defense of County Bill 108-21, which requires gun stores in the County to give customers information on suicide prevention, conflict resolution, and mental health resources when they purchase a firearm or ammunition.

Following a deadly mass shooting at the Annapolis, Maryland office of The Capital Gazette on June 28, 2018, Anne Arundel County established a Gun Violence Intervention Team to study gun violence within the County and make recommendations on how to curtail this public health crisis. As part of this effort, the Anne Arundel County Council passed Bill 108-21 on January 10, 2022, which directed the County’s Health Department to distribute literature about “gun safety, gun training, suicide prevention, mental health, and conflict resolution” to stores that sell firearms and ammunition. The County Health Department selected a pamphlet jointly authored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention concerning firearms and suicide prevention, as well as a one-page insert developed by the County concerning local resources for suicide and conflict prevention. Bill 108-21 requires gun stores to display this literature and to distribute it along with the purchase of firearms and ammunition.

On April 11, 2022, Maryland Shall Issue (“MSI”), Inc., representing four firearm dealers in the County, filed a challenge in federal court alleging that the distribution of these pamphlets violates the First Amendment rights of the stores and their customers.  The parties engaged in fact and expert discovery during the summer of 2022, and as of November 2022 are in the process of filing cross-motions for summary judgment.

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