On Tuesday, a federal judge upheld two key parts of the Firearms Safety Act of 2013, Maryland’s sweeping gun-control law. The measures in dispute banned 45 assault weapons and limited gun magazines to 10 rounds or less.
According to local news affiliate WBAL-11,U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake found that “the law serves the government’s interest in protecting public safety without significantly burdening what the Supreme Court has explained is the core Second Amendment right of ‘law abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”
“In summary, the Firearms Safety Act of 2013, which represents the considered judgment of this state’s legislature and its governor, seeks to address a serious risk of harm to law enforcement officers and the public from the greater power to injure and kill presented by assault weapons and large capacity magazines,” U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake concluded in a 47-page ruling.
The Act’s key provisions were challenged shortly before the law went into effect last year, and last month, in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, attorney John Parker Sweeney brought the challenge on behalf of several groups that opposed the law. His argument against the new provisions accused the state of Maryland of going “too far” and banning popular firearms that gun owners could use for “self defense”. Attorneys for the state argued law protects the public and took a common-sense approach to gun control by focusing on firearms used in military-assault style attacks and mass shootings.
Judge Blake noted in her ruling that Maryland law enforcement officials are “unaware of any resident using an assault weapon or needing to fire more than 10 rounds in self-defense. The exception was a case in Baltimore city in which a civilian fired more than 10 rounds in a self-defense incident, but as the perpetrators were fleeing the scene.”
Blake also rejected the plaintiffs’ contention that assault weapons are used infrequently in mass shootings and murders of law enforcement officers.
“As for their claims that assault weapons are well-suited for self-defense, the plaintiffs proffer no evidence beyond their desire to possess assault weapons for self-defense in the home that they are in fact commonly used, or possessed, for that purpose,” Blake wrote.
The law contains a variety of other provisions aimed at a common-sense approach to gun control, including background checks and a “licensing requirement for handgun purchasers to submit fingerprints to the state police in an effort to reduce the number of guns purchased by a friend or family member for someone who is not allowed to own a gun.”