AG's office files amicus brief in Maryland gun case

By Chris Dickerson | Nov 18, 2014

CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is part of a bipartisan group of 21 state AGs that has filed an amicus brief in a Maryland gun case.

The amicus, or friend of the court, brief was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a case in which the plaintiffs want the court to declare unconstitutional a Maryland law that forbids the possession, sale, transfer or receipt of certain firearms.

The amicus brief argues Maryland’s law violates citizens’ core Second Amendment right to keep firearms in their home for self-protection. Plaintiffs in the case, Kolbe, et al., argued that the Maryland ban completely prohibited the possession of commonly used firearms and some of the most popular guns used by citizens for self-defense.

A U.S. District Court ruled the law did not violate the constitution.

“Our office is committed to defending law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights, and we believe this law clearly violates the Constitution,” Morrisey said in a press release. “This law’s broad categorical ban is no different than trying to impose a content-based ban on speech. It simply cannot be done.”

In the amicus brief, Morrisey and the other state AGs argue the Maryland law runs counter to previous court decisions that deemed other bans prohibiting citizens’ private ownership of other common firearms as unconstitutional.

West Virginia was joined in the brief by the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“We are proud to have led this bipartisan group of states in this amicus brief,” Morrisey said. “States must band together in times when they see citizens’ rights being diminished or infringed upon.

"If the courts decide this law passes muster, it would undermine a core part of the Second Amendment.”

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