21 states seek to strike down Maryland gun ban

A gun rights coalition of 21 states filed an amicus brief against Maryland last week, arguing that a state law forbidding the possession, sale, transfer or receipt of certain firearms is unconstitutional and violates the Second Amendment.

A U.S. District Court judge initially ruled Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013 did not violate the Constitution, though opponents say the law would extend to firearms commonly used in the home for self defense. The law also bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

The brief charges that the law cannot pass constitutional muster because it’s similar to Heller v. DC, which the Supreme Court found to be invalid, and it has failed to show any evidentiary link to public safety and law enforcement.

Leading the call to overturn the law was West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who in the friend-of-the-court filing likened the legislation to a content-based ban on free speech.

West Virginia was joined in the brief by the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Kentucky, according to the 24-page filing (pdf).

“We are proud to have led this bipartisan group of states in this amicus brief,” Morrisey said in a statement. “States must band together in times when they see citizens’ rights being diminished or infringed upon. If the courts decide this law passes muster, it would undermine a core part of the Second Amendment.”