The federal case challenging the constitutionality of the 2013 Maryland Firearms Safety Act is scheduled for a heairng in federal court in Baltimore on March 4, 2014. The deadline for filing briefs was Friday. Two gun control lobby groups filed briefs in support of the Act which is one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country. The law requires gun buyers to submit fingerprints and obtain handgun qualification licenses. It also limits handgun magazines to 10 rounds and adds 45 guns to a list of banned assault weapons.
In the Tardy v. O'Malley case, filed in federal court two days before the new rules went into effect on Oct. 1, a group of gun rights advocates sought to prevent the execution of the law. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake declined to stop the new laws.
An Eastern Shore gun store, Wink's Sporting Goods in Princess Anne is one of several Plaintiffs in the case. Wink's contends that the sale of weapons that were banned by the act made up the "vast majority" of its sales before the law went into effect and that being unable to sell the weapons will harm their business. The firearms banned by the law are popular with many law abiding citizens in Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico Counties including hunters, sports enthusiasts and those interested in protecting their family, homes and business.
Laws were already in place in Maryland before the 2013 Firearms Safety Act that criminalized the possession of firearms by felons and drug dealers, and the use of handguns in the commission of a crime. These laws include a five year minimum-mandatory prison sentence without parole. Prosecutors have been vigorously enforcing these gun laws for years through programs like Wicomico Exile. However, the 2013 law expands firearm restrictions in Maryland to law abiding citizens.