BALTIMORE, MARYLAND (December 1, 2020) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of a new federal Second Amendment lawsuit that seeks to strike down the State of Maryand’s ban on so-called “assault weapons,” arms that are constitutionally protected under the Second Amendment. The case, Bianchi, et al. v. Frosh, et al., can be found at FPCLegal.org.
Joining FPC are 3 individuals, licensed firearms retailer Field Traders, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA). The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Nicole J. Moss, John D. Ohlendorf, Peter A. Patterson, and David H. Thompson of Cooper & Kirk, Raymond M. DiGuiseppe, and FPC Director of Legal Strategy Adam Kraut. Defendants include Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Col. Woodrow W. Jones III, the Secretary of State Police, R. Jay Fisher is Sheriff of Baltimore County, and Jim Fredericks is Sheriff of Anne Arundel County.
All “individuals who are legally eligible to possess and acquire firearms, have a fundamental, constitutionally guaranteed right to keep common firearms for defense of self and family and for other lawful pursuits,” the plaintiffs’ complaint says. “But the State of Maryland has criminalized the possession and transportation of common firearms by ordinary citizens, making it wholly unlawful for law-abiding citizens to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear such arms.”
The plaintiffs acknowledged that “the result they seek is contrary to Kolbe v. Hogan,” a 2017 en banc decision of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. But, they say, “that case was wrongly decided. They therefore institute this litigation to vindicate their Second Amendment rights and to seek to have Kolbe overruled.”
“In Heller and McDonald, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess commonly owned firearms,” explained Pete Patterson of Cooper & Kirk. “Despite this guarantee, Maryland bans its citizens from owning some of the most popular firearms in the Nation. This ban is blatantly unconstitutional, and we are bringing this suit to correct erroneous precedent to the contrary.”
“The constitutional rights at stake here are fundamental in nature, and Maryland’s laws cannot withstand Heller’s categorical analysis or any form of heightened scrutiny,” noted Ray DiGuiseppe. “It is no answer to say that it is permissible to ban these common arms so long as the possession of other firearms is allowed. All law-abiding adults have the right to purchase and possess the firearms the State prohibits under its laws, and we will work to restore that right in this case.”
“So-called ‘assault weapons’ are some of the most commonly owned semi-automatic firearms, all of which are excellent for self-defense,” explained FPC’s Adam Kraut. “Maryland’s ban on these firearms robs its citizens of their right to choose, forcing them to purchase and use firearms that may not be what is best for them, including defending their homes and their families. All law-abiding adults have a constitutional right to purchase any of the semi-automatic firearms on the market today. Maryland’s laws are unconstitutional and we look forward to vindicating the rights of our clients and all individuals in Maryland and across the United States in this case and others.”
“Under the text of the Constitution itself, not to mention the Supreme Court’s precedents, the plaintiffs and all law-abiding People have a right to keep and bear these common semi-automatic arms for all lawful purposes,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “Through this case, our Miller v. Becerra litigation, and others, we will continue to fight forward and restore the full scope of Second Amendment rights throughout the United States.”
Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law are the nation’s next-generation advocates leading the Second Amendment litigation space, having recently filed several major federal Second Amendment lawsuits including challenges to the State of Pennsylvania’s and Allegheny County’s carry restrictions (Cowey v. Mullen), Philadelphia’s Gun Permit Unit policies and practices (Fetsurka v. Outlaw), Pennsylvania’s ban on carry by adults under 21 years of age (Lara v. Evanchick), California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra), Maryland’s carry ban (Call v. Jones), New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), and others, with many more cases being prepared today. To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.
The Bianchi case is another important lawsuit filed as part of FPC’s comprehensive strategy to defend freedom, advance individual liberty, and restore the Constitution and its guarantees for individuals throughout the United States. Individuals who wish to support the lawsuit can do so at JoinFPC.org and www.firearmspolicy.org/bianchi.
NOTICE -- POTENTIAL PLAINTIFFS NEEDED!
FPC is urgently seeking individual and FFL plaintiffs for a number of lawsuits that are being prepared to challenge laws and policies that infringe on fundamental rights, including (but not limited to):
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from purchasing and/or possessing so-called “assault weapons” (semi-automatic firearms with standard characteristics) and “high-capacity” magazines (standard magazines that hold more than 10 rounds)
- Laws and policies that prevent 18-20-year-old young adults (under age 21) from obtaining handguns from FFLs and carry loaded, operable arms in public for self-defense
- Laws and policies that prevent individual adults (over the age of 18) from carrying loaded handguns and other arms outside of their home
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring and/or possessing handguns and other arms without first acquiring a “purchase permit”
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring or possessing firearms due to a conviction for a non-violent crime, or mental health adjudication that did not involve an involuntary commitment
- Laws that prevent honorably discharged veterans from acquiring or possessing firearms because they have been classified as “a mental defective” due to the agency’s determination that they “lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs” because they need assistance managing VA benefits and have a fiduciary
If someone you know meets the criteria above, or if you would be interested in participating in litigation as a supporting FFL, please contact us:
- On the web at www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline
- By email at potentialplaintiffs[at]fpchq.org
- By phone at (855) 252-4510 (FPC Legal Action Hotline available 24/7/365)
If you would like to support FPC’s Bianchi case and many other pro-Second Amendment lawsuits, legal action, and research, please chip in $5, $10, $25, or whatever you can at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/donate or Join the FPC Grassroots Army at JoinFPC.org.
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.