September 25, 2023
More Assaults on Maryland Gun Owners, iStock-884191290, Allexxandar
Two impressive coalitions have submitted amicus briefs supporting a challenge to Montgomery Copunty, Maryland’s restrictive “sensitive places” ordinance. (iStock-884191290)

Two impressive coalitions—one consisting of nine Second Amendment groups and the other which includes 19 state attorneys general—have filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting a challenge of a Maryland county’s sweeping and prohibitive “sensitive places” designations that include 100-yard “buffer zones.”

The law is known generically as “Chapter 57,” and the case is known as Maryland Shall Issue v. Montgomery County. In addition to Maryland Shall Issue, plaintiffs include Engage Armament, I.C.E. Firearms and Defensive Training, and several individuals.

Led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, the attorneys generals represent the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. They are all Republicans. Knudsen’s office announced the filing.

Amicus Briefs Filed in Challenge of Montgomery County ‘Sensitive Places’ by AmmoLand Shooting Sports News on Scribd

The rights groups include the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, California Rifle and Pistol Association, Second Amendment Law Center, Second Amendment Defense and Education Coalition, Guns Save Life, Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners of California and the Gun Owners Foundation. They are represented by attorneys Chuck Michel and Anna M. Barvir at Michel & Associates of Long Beach, Calif.

While CCRKBA does not often get involved in the litigation process, this case provides one of those exceptions because it goes right to the heart of the organization’s mission: Defending the right to keep and especially bear arms.

Amicus Briefs Filed in Challenge of Montgomery County ‘Sensitive Places’ by AmmoLand Shooting Sports News on Scribd

The combined actions amount to a powerful double-whammy in support of Maryland Shall Issue’s case.

According to a prepared statement, CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “Like other jurisdictions did in the aftermath of the 2022 Supreme Court ruling in Bruen, Montgomery County is trying to dance around the high court’s intent by classifying ‘sensitive places’ as just about all public venues.”

This was evident when Democrat-controlled legislatures in New York, New Jersey and California immediately went to work following the high court’s June 2022 6-3 ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. That decision declared New York’s century-old concealed carry permit law unconstitutional.

When Montgomery County officials adopted their restrictive ordinance, Maryland Shall Issue sued in federal district court, seeking a preliminary injunction. The trial judge denied the motion, so the gun group appealed. Both amicus briefs filed this week support the appeal and ask the Fourth Circuit Court to reverse the lower court.

“The Supreme Court was clear: Rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment are not second-class to other rights. Montanans should not deal with a patch work of state and local regulations when traveling with firearms especially when those restrictions are unconstitutional,” Attorney General Knudsen said in a prepared statement. “In their Bruen decision, the Supreme Court clarified the requirements that need to be met for gun restrictions to be lawful. Montgomery County’s law does not satisfy those requirements and is unconstitutional. The appeals court should reverse the district court’s decision and grant a preliminary injunction.”

In their 41-page brief, the attorneys general argue, “When a modern regulation addresses an issue that has persisted since the eighteenth century, the modern and historical regulations should be a close fit… But when evaluating regulations ‘that were unimaginable at the founding,’ courts must employ ‘a more nuanced approach.’”

A few lines later, the AG brief notes, “But Bruen’s list of ‘settled’ sensitive places omits places of worship, parks, recreational facilities, multipurpose exhibition facilities, public libraries, and buffer zones, so the County must still show that these regulations are part of an enduring American tradition of firearm regulation.”

Likewise, in their 31-page brief, attorneys for the gun rights groups note, “The County’s failure to provide security to protect any of the places it declares to be ‘sensitive’ in Chapter 57, section 1, suggests that it does not really consider those places to be sensitive. Compare this to truly sensitive places like courthouses and legislative buildings, which generally have police presence and metal detectors at the door. Frankly, it is hard to believe that Chapter 57 is about public safety at all. If it were, it would not strip law-abiding citizens of their ability to carry in its list of prohibited places without providing security at such places.”

Gottlieb summed it up in a Tuesday news release: “State and local anti-gun governments are trying to be too clever by half when they adopt far-reaching ‘sensitive places’ designations. Such restrictions are supposed to be very narrow in scope, not the kind of wide-ranging areas with hundred-yard buffer zones thrown in. We’re delighted to be part of this amicus submission because this sort of nonsense has to stop.”

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.Dave Workman

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