Maryland Shall Issue, Inc. v. Wes Moore, No. 21-2017 (4th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs sought to enjoin the state from enforcing only this additional, preliminary handgun-licensure requirement. The district court originally dismissed that challenge for lack of Article III standing, but we reversed and remanded for a decision on the merits. On remand, the district court again rejected Plaintiffs’ claims, this time holding that Maryland’s handgun licensure law did not violate the Second Amendment. So Plaintiffs appealed once more.
The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision. The court explained that the challenged law restricts the ability of law-abiding adult citizens to possess handguns, and the state has not presented a historical analogue that justifies its restriction; indeed, it has seemingly admitted that it couldn’t find one. The court enjoined the enforcement explaining that under the Supreme Court’s new burden-shifting test for these claims, Maryland’s law fails. The court wrote that Maryland has not shown that this regime is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. There might well be a tradition of prohibiting dangerous people from owning firearms. But, under the Second Amendment, mechanism matters. And Maryland has not pointed to any historical laws that operated by preemptively depriving all citizens of firearms to keep them out of dangerous hands.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on January 11, 2024.