Second amendment advocates will forgo a petition effort, and instead mount a legal challenge to overturn Governor O’Malley’s sweeping gun control law.
At an event in Jessup Maryland, Delegate Neil Parrott (R-Washington County) alongside gun rights groups including the National Rifle Association, Western Maryland Sportsmen Club, Maryland Shall Issue, and Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore announced that they would seek to overturn the law in the courts.
The law, known by its bill number SB 281, requires gun purchasers to submit to fingerprinting, bans so called “assault weapons,” bans magazine that hold more than 10 rounds, restricts the mentally ill from purchasing firearms, requires 16 hours of training for new firearm applicants, 8 hours of training for renewals, requires gun owners to renew their license every 10 years, a $50 licensing fee, and an identification card issued by the Maryland State Police.
Parrot, who heads MDpetitions.com, the group that successfully petitioned gay marriage, the DREAM Act, and O’Malley’s congressional redistricting map to the 2012 ballot, which were eventually upheld by the voters, said he consulted with the pro-second amendment groups and that they decided “the best way go was through the courts.”
He equated O’Malley’s gun law to a poll tax, with the onerous licensing fees and regulations, which obstruct citizens from exercising their second amendment rights.
Parrott said that although many of the gun groups were planning a coordinated petition and ballot campaign, they ultimately saw it as a constitutional issue and didn’t feel putting second amendment rights up for a plebiscite was proper. Parrott said O’Malley’s gun law is a “clear violation of our constitutional rights and should be overturned.”
The failure to overturn the three laws petitioned to the ballot was a concern. Maryland is a very liberal state, and a February Washington Post Poll found that 85 percent of Marylanders supported O’Malley’s licensing requirements and 73 percent supported an “assault weapons” ban. Parrott said it would be a “challenge for gun organizations to get people to the polls,” but that most people who respect the second amendment will be out at the polls in 2014. Delegate Michael Smigiel was quoted by captialgazette.com as saying “ I have no doubt 100,000 people would turn out.”