Trump-appointed judge rules against Maryland handgun law

November 23, 2023

Former President Donald Trump is known as a supporter of gun rights, telling Americans that he "will always protect your Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms."

The former president thus scored a major win this week after a judge he appointed helped to strike down a Maryland handgun law.

Law required permits for those seeking to acquire a handgun

According to The Hill, the case concerned a state law which required that those wishing to acquire a handgun first apply for a purchase permit.

Under its provisions, applicants must pass a safety course and undergo a rigorous background check, with wait times lasting up to 30 days.

Yet on Tuesday, a panel of 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled two to one that the state may not regulate handguns more harshly than it does other firearms.

The majority opinion was authored by Judge Julius N. Richardson, who was nominated by Trump in the spring of 2018.

Judge points to Supreme Court ruling from last year

When writing his opinion, Richardson pointed to New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, a 2022 case in which the Supreme Court found that gun restrictions must be consistent with those that existed when the Constitution was ratified.

"The challenged law restricts the ability of law-abiding adult citizens to possess handguns," The Hill quoted Richardson as stating.

"But even though Maryland’s law does not prohibit Plaintiffs from owning handguns at some time in the future, it still prohibits them from owning handguns now," he pointed out.

"In other words, though it does not permanently bar Plaintiffs from owning handguns, the challenged law deprives them of that ability until their application is approved, no matter what they do," the judge stressed.

Obama-appointed judge slams "hyper-aggressive view of the Second Amendment"

However, Richardson's reasoning was challenged by the Obama-appointed Judge Barbara Keenan, who maintained that it "fundamentally misapplies" the Supreme Court's holding.

"Simply stated, the majority’s hyper-aggressive view of the Second Amendment would render presumptively unconstitutional most non-discretionary laws in this country requiring a permit to purchase a handgun," she added.

The Hill noted that the case was brought by a collection of pro-gun advocacy groups, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), which put out a social media post describing Richardson's opinion as a "huge" victory.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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