A federal judge on Tuesday rejected constitutional challenges against a new Maryland firearm law that went into effect the same day. The Firearm Safety Act of 2013 [SB 281, PDF] limits certain assault weapons and removable magazines and requires safety training and fingerprint for potential buyers. While the recent ruling rejected the challenges, plaintiffs are still allowed to continue [Reuters report] their cases. In September, several residents, gun store owners and gun rights advocates filed [JURIST report] two lawsuits and a restraining order in the US District Court for the District of Maryland [official website] to block the new law. The plaintiffs argued that the gun law violated 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.
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.