This article, originally published at 1:42 p.m. July 13, 2023, was updated at 12:10 p.m. July 14, 2023, to correct the name of the court and the date of the hearing and to substitute a photo in order to show the correct court.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland announced July 6 that it had rejected a challenge to Bill 21-22, a county law signed in November that prohibits carrying firearms within 100 yards of places of public assembly, including a park, church, school and public buildings, according to a press release.
“It was a good day for public safety in Montgomery County,” said County Executive Marc Elrich in the release.
The plaintiffs in the case were Maryland Shall Issue, a non-partisan organization promoting gun owners’ rights in Maryland; Engage Armament, LLC, a gun store and manufacturer; I.C.E Firearms & Defensive Training, LLC, based in Mount Airy, Maryland; and eight individuals, according to court documents.
They filed suit to motion to institute a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction on the law to prevent it from being enforced. The hearing on the motion was held on Feb. 6, and the Court denied that motion, court documents said.
In an interview with MoCo360, Maryland Shall Issue President Mark Pennak said that through this case, the county “extinguished” the right to carry a firearm, which greatly affected gun owners.
“They’ve been robbed of their constitutional rights,” Pennak said.
Elrich said in the release that he is pleased with this decision and connected it to the Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen (2022).
“Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the government can only impose firearms regulations if they are analogous to firearms regulations that existed in the 18th and 19th centuries, even when seeking to regulate modern firearms that did not exist at that time,” Elrich said. “The County was able to demonstrate that its firearms law is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearms regulations. And the Court agreed.”
Pennak said that he believes this Supreme Court ruling should not be applied to Montgomery County because Manhattan is around 23 square miles, and this county is around 491 square miles. He argues that this is a huge area for people not to be able to carry guns within 100 yards of a public assembly location. He worries that this will deter people from living here or visiting.
“People with carry permits are not coming into the county,” Pennak said.
County Councilmember Gabe Albornoz (D-At large) sponsored Bill 21-22 before it was signed by County Executive Marc Elrich.
“We must take aggressive action to protect our children, our seniors and our families against the gun violence which is now pervasive in almost every public space,” Albornoz said in the release. “The ruling by the U.S. District Court is an important step in the fight to protect the safety of all our Montgomery County residents.”
This law also bans firearms near colleges and universities, private libraries, private parks, hospitals, community health centers, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, group homes and care homes, the release said.
The decision was appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the release.