BALTIMORE, MD (September 21, 2021) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of 19 state attorneys general in filing a amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending New York’s law regulating when individuals may obtain a license to carry firearms in public. The coalition argues that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not provide Americans with an unrestricted right to carry loaded firearms in virtually all public places, but instead, in keeping with centuries of tradition, allows states to enact policies regulating public carry that are tailored to local public safety concerns and needs.
“Maryland, like many other states, has enacted common-sense gun laws that place the lives and safety of our residents first,” said Attorney General Frosh. “The Constitution embraces the right of each state to decide how best to address its needs. The gun safety laws of New York and of Maryland protect the public and reduce gun violence. Those protections are well within the authority the Constitution grants to states.”
A one-size-fits-all approach to regulating public carry would take away the ability of officials, democratically elected by the people of their states, to address the unique public safety needs of their residents. In this case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, the petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to grant Americans the right to carry loaded firearms anytime, in virtually any public place – disregarding the established practice that States and local governments may regulate the public carry of firearms in their jurisdictions. In Maryland, for example, to carry a firearm, individuals must obtain a permit from the Secretary of the Maryland State Police and demonstrate “a good and substantial reason to wear, carry, and transport a handgun in public,” and that the need to carry is “necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.” Furthermore, Maryland law limits the circumstances and locations in which individuals are permitted to carry a firearm openly.
In today’s brief, the coalition argues that throughout the history of this country, public carry regulations have varied from region to region, and that tradition pre-dates the founding of the United States. Regulations today and centuries ago “varied substantially between and within the States—the result of accountable policymakers enacting regulatory schemes tailored to local needs and conditions.”
In filing today’s brief, Attorney General Frosh joined the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.