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Maryland Gun Laws Provide Interesting Case Nationally

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By    |   Sunday, 16 Nov 2014 06:00 PM

Maryland gun laws are both strict and extremely comprehensive. The state is known for its gun control aspirations as well as for sweeping legislation in 2013 that banned assault weapons and limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds or fewer. That same legislation also strengthened permit and training requirements and set a seven-day waiting period on the purchase of handguns to provide a window for a comprehensive background check.

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The gun laws in Maryland represent an interesting case nationally because the 2013 Firearm Safety Act, considered one of the strongest gun control acts in the nation, was the impetus for heated debate. Gun control activists in favor of strengthening gun control laws argued that safety was of primary importance and Second Amendment advocates took issue with the law's potential infringement on the right to bear arms.

Before the November midterm elections, politicians in Maryland also waded into the fray, and now, with the support of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, some rural sheriffs are taking what has been described as a constitutional stand against the law.

In August 2014, NBC News reported that a number of rural sheriffs in Maryland had vowed not to enforce gun laws that they consider unconstitutional. One of those is Maryland Sheriff Mike Lewis who testified against the Firearm Safety Act before it was signed into law.

Sheriff Lewis believes that he represents the people of Wicomico County and that he takes his orders from them, not Maryland's governor. In a comment made about the Firearm Safety Act Lewis said, “It ignited fire among sheriffs throughout the state. Those in the rural areas all felt the way I did.” He also commented that the law "had serious ramifications on the U.S. Constitution, specifically for our Second Amendment right."

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The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has taken issue with Sheriff Lewis' comments and stance and are petitioning to have his teaching certification revoked. Specifically they have highlighted Lewis' statement, "As long as I'm the sheriff in this county, I will not allow the federal government to come in here and strip my citizens of their right to bear arms. I can tell you this, if they attempt to do that, it would be an all-out civil war, no question about it."

According to Lewis, he does not teach the Second Amendment in the classroom; he teaches law enforcement techniques as they relate to criminals, and he has stated that the Firearm Safety Act has not affected how he does his job. He will "continue to identify and arrest all criminals who are in violation of the law."

Meanwhile, the coalition has posted the following statement on its website, "It is difficult to see how a law enforcement officer who is threatening to wage war with the United States government meets any recognized standards of public service."

With no resolution in sight, the debate between constitutional sheriffs and gun control advocates will continue to keep Maryland gun laws in the news.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws of your state and destination before travel.

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Maryland gun laws are both strict and extremely comprehensive. The state is known for its gun control aspirations as well as for sweeping legislation in 2013 that banned assault weapons and limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds or fewer.
maryland, gun laws
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2014-00-16
Sunday, 16 Nov 2014 06:00 PM
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