A trial date is set for early next year in a challenge by gun owners, stores and firearms advocacy groups who seek to overturn new Maryland gun laws that went into effect this month.
A four-day trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 10 after the plaintiffs and the state agreed to an expedited schedule, according to recent filings in federal court on one of the cases.
In the Tardy v. O'Malley case, filed in federal court two days before the new rules went into effect on Oct. 1, a contingent of gun rights advocates sought to prevent the implementation of the laws. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake declined to halt the new laws, which add additional steps to the handgun purchasing process and ban certain types of weapons.
Plaintiff Shawn Tardy, an Army veteran from Harford County, and other individuals in the National Rifle Association-backed lawsuit make the argument they would otherwise be eligible to purchase the "commonly used semiautomatic rifles and shotguns" now banned by the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 and wished to do so in order to defend themselves in their homes.
Two gun stores — Wink's Sporting Goods in Princess Anne and Atlantic Guns in Silver Spring — also contend that the sale of weapons that were banned by the act made up the "vast majority" of their sales before the law went into effect and that being unable to sell the weapons will harm their businesses.
Maryland's new gun laws — considered to be among the strictest in the nation — require gun buyers to submit their fingerprints and obtain a handgun qualification licenses. They also also limit handgun magazines to 10 rounds and add 45 guns to a list of banned assault weapons.
Plaintiffs in a second case that challenges the new laws have agreed to hold off on any immediate hearings in their case while the other case works its way through the court system.
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