|MSI has had an extremely busy and successful summer on the legal front:
With the US Supreme Court's opinion in NYSRPA v. Bruen
finding subjective 'proper cause' requirements for licenses to carry handguns in public unconstitutional, the Court singled out Maryland Public Safety Art. § 5-306(a)(6)(ii)
as unlawful. Since Governor Hogan's July 5th announcement that the "good and substantial reason" requirement will no longer be enforced, every otherwise qualified person became eligible for unrestricted permits, leaving nothing at issue in the case. The parties jointly requested the 4th Circuit to dismiss the case as moot, which it did a few weeks ago. The State quite literally folded and as many of you know, permits are being issued to the public at large without needing to demonstrate any sort of need.
Special thanks go to the Firearms Policy Coalition, Second Amendment Foundation, and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms who led the fight in this case.
Anne Arundel County had passed an ordinance earlier this year that would have threatened County firearms and ammunition dealers with onerous and vague security requirements as a condition of doing business within the County. The ordinance also would have levied harsh fines and other penalties against firearms dealers not in compliance. Citizens have a Second Amendment right to acquire arms and dealers have the ancillary Second Amendment right to sell them. MSI and four dealers brought suit against the County under State preemption law and the County Council responded by giving up. Specifically, the County amended the ordinance to provide that the security requirements would only be enforced if the State-wide law, HB 1091, passed by the General Assembly in 2022, were enjoined or repealed. At that point, the case became moot and the court dismissed the suit on that basis. MSI's efforts forced the County to back off. Kudos to Cindy's Hot Shots, Worth-A-Shot, Field Traders, and Pasadena Arms for standing up as named plaintiffs.
Not to be outdone with its first attempt at punishing lawful commerce, Anne Arundel County also passed a measure that compels dealers to display and distribute County literature asserting that there is a causal link between firearms access and suicide. MSI and the four dealers filed suit in federal district court alleging that the County requirements imposed "compelled speech" in violation of the First Amendment. In response to a motion for a temporary restraining order and motion for a preliminary injunction, the County suspended its requirements. Apparently feeling overwhelmed by the First Amendment issues, the County sought the help of Everytown lawyers from New York City, who are now taking the lead in the case. Discovery was completed earlier this month and motions for summary judgment have been filed by both parties. Briefing will be completed by mid-November. We think the court will act promptly so we may have a decision relatively soon. Stay tuned.
MSI brought suit against Montgomery County
in State Court on State preemption grounds back in late May of 2021 challenging the enactment of Bill 4-21
. That Bill banned privately made firearms and banned as well the mere possession, transfer, sale or transport of firearms in any place (public or private) where people "may assemble" (which is pretty much everywhere). After the County unsuccessfully tried to remove the case to federal court, the State court held a hearing on cross motions for summary judgment in July 2022. However, by that time Bruen
had been decided by the Supreme Court, thus enabling MSI to file an amended complaint alleging that the ordinance also violated the Second Amendment, as construed in Bruen
. The County once again removed that amended complaint and the case is currently pending in federal district court where the County is seeking to hold the Second Amendment claim in indefinite abeyance pending adjudication of the State law claims. MSI has vigorously opposed that approach and has argued that the federal court is obligated to consider the Second Amendment claim first. That issue remains before the court, but we expect a decision soon on that issue. Stay tuned!
This case is fully briefed before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and it is a matter of time before the Court takes action. The case was briefly touched on in a video by Audit the Audit
as the case will likely set precedent for other cases within the Fourth Circuit. Briefing is complete and we are awaiting either a decision by the court of appeals or for the court of appeals to set an argument date.
MSI's longest-running case has heated up. In this case, MSI and plaintiffs have challenged the constitutionality of the HQL requirement under the Second Amendment. Plaintiffs initially lost the case on standing grounds in district court, but the Fourth Circuit reversed that ruling and remanded for a determination of the merits. On remand, the district court sustained the statute under intermediate scrutiny. By that time, Bruen was pending in the Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit, over the State's objection, agreed to hold the appeal in abeyance pending a decision in Bruen. Bruen was decided in June of 2022 and held that the courts may not apply intermediate scrutiny in Second Amendment cases. The appeal was immediately reactivated and the parties have almost completed briefing, with plaintiffs' reply brief due in mid-November. The case is tentatively scheduled to be argued the first week of December.
There's no shortage of post-Bruen cases going on elsewhere. You can follow along at the case tracking page HERE.