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Divided Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Panel Strikes Down Maryland’s Common Sense Handgun Permit Requirements, Everytown Law Responds


NEW YORK – Today, in a dangerous and misguided decision, a divided panel of three judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to strike down Maryland’s common sense handgun permitting requirements as unconstitutional, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen. The state now has 14 days to seek en banc review from the full Fourth Circuit and also may seek further review in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The law, which was passed in 2013 after the deadly Sandy Hook School shooting, was originally challenged by the gun lobby in 2016 and rejected by a district court prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen. 

Maryland’s common sense law establishes requirements for individuals to apply for and receive a handgun permit, requiring prospective gun owners to undergo fingerprinting and a background check, in addition to participating in firearm safety training.

“Requiring handgun purchasers to pass a background check and undergo gun safety training prior to purchasing a gun is not only common sense, it is entirely consistent with the Second Amendment and the new test established by the Bruen decision,” said William Taylor, Deputy Director of Second Amendment Litigation at Everytown Law. “While today’s decision is a setback to public safety, we fully expect that the full Fourth Circuit, or if necessary, the Supreme Court, will reverse this dangerous decision and uphold Maryland’s critical gun safety law.”

To date, few courts have issued decisions on handgun permitting requirements like Maryland’s in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen. In July, a District Court in Oregon upheld Oregon’s similar law establishing handgun permitting requirements and the gun lobby responded by appealing the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A state court in Illinois also recently rejected a similar challenge to Illinois’s firearm licensing law.