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Gun rights advocates challenge Maryland firearm safety law

Several Maryland residents, gun store owners and gun rights advocates have filed two lawsuits and a restraining order Thursday [complaint, PDF] and Friday in the US District Court for the District of Maryland [official website] to block the implementation of the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 [legislative materials] on Tuesday. The act limits handgun magazines to 10 rounds and adds 45 guns to a banned list. The act also requires gun buyers to submit their fingerprints and obtain handgun qualification licenses, which would require four hours of handgun training. The lawsuits argue [Baltimore Sun report] that the act violates the Second Amendment by arbitrarily banning certain guns and that the act violates equal protection under the law because retired police officers are not subject to certain provisions. Gun rights advocates filed the second lawsuit against Maryland's new gun law Friday, calling the licensing requirement a de facto ban on sales, since the Maryland State Police [official website] are not ready to process the license applications quickly. The plaintiffs are also asking for a temporary restraining [text, PDF] order on the act.

The act was proposed in January, a month after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting [WSJ backgrounder] sparked a national gun control debate [JURIST op-ed]. The act passed [JURIST report] the Maryland Senate in April. In April Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed [JURIST report] a comprehensive gun control bill into law, placing new limits on the sale of firearms. A month prior US President Barack Obama urged [JURIST report] Congress to pass three bills which would require background checks for all private gun sales, renew a grant to improve schools security programs and make the act of buying a weapon for someone barred from owning one a federal crime. Earlier in March, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] spoke before Congress [JURIST report] urging passage of gun control measures, including universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines and military style assault weapons. In January Obama signed 23 executive orders [JURIST report] intended to strengthen existing gun laws and urged congress to take up gun control measures.

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