A federal judge filed a preliminary injunction Friday blocking parts of gun control measures that were set to take effect in Maryland Oct. 1 that limit who can get concealed carry handgun permits and where they can be used.
The Gun Safety Act of 2023, signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore in May, prohibits people from carrying guns in schools, hospitals, government buildings, stadiums, museums and liquor stores or other places where alcohol is sold, among other locations. Those who work in law enforcement, security and the military are exempt.
Susannah Kipke of Pasadena, the wife of Republican Del. Nicholaus Kipke of Anne Arundel County, and the Maryland Rifle and Pistol Association filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore not long after the bill became law saying the restrictions and burdens on the right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense in Maryland are unconstitutional.
In a decision issued as part of that lawsuit, Judge George Levi Russell III issued a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the law in places where alcohol is sold, in private places without the owner’s consent and at public demonstrations.
A spokesman for the governor pointed out in a statement that the court upheld many of the legislation’s “common sense reforms” that will make Maryland communities safer from gun violence.
“As a father, and as the chief executive of this state, this is an issue that is of the utmost importance to the governor and he will continue to fight for the necessary measures to protect Maryland’s children and make this state safer for everyone,” the spokesman, Carter Elliott IV, said.
But House and Senate Republicans view the injunction as a win and said the legislation, also known as Senate Bill 1, would unfairly target and serve as a “de facto ban” on Marylanders with concealed carry permits.
“The Court has recognized that so many of the restrictions the far-left wing of the General Assembly tried to place on lawful, peaceful gun owners went way beyond the bounds of what is constitutionally allowed,” House Minority Leader Jason Buckel said in a statement.
“During the debate on Senate Bill 1, the members of the House Republican Caucus repeatedly and exhaustively warned our Democratic colleagues that parts of this bill went too far,” Buckel added.
Senate Republican Leadership issued a similar response after the preliminary injunctions were granted.
“Maryland Democrats continue to pass unconstitutional laws to strip away the rights of law-abiding citizens while trying to pass it off as public safety legislation. Maryland citizens demand real legislative efforts to reduce crime,” said Senate Minority Leader Steve Hershey, in a release.
Senate Minority Whip Justin Ready said Maryland Democrats should take another approach to address violent crime.
“They need to get serious about increasing and enforcing penalties for repeat, violent offenders and repealing ineffective laws that hamper the efforts of our law enforcement officers to remove illegal guns from our communities,” he wrote in a release.
The gun measures were a direct response to last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that forced the state to abandon its standard that gun owners show a “good and substantial reason” to get a concealed carry permit.