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NRA sues Maryland governor after he signs gun safety legislation

<i>Brian Witte/AP</i><br/>Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signs one of several gun-control measures during a bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday
Brian Witte/AP
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signs one of several gun-control measures during a bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday

By Michelle Watson, CNN

(CNN) — The National Rifle Association sued Maryland Gov. Wes Moore after he signed the Gun Safety Act of 2023 along with other gun safety measures into law Tuesday, court documents show.

The Gun Safety Act of 2023, or Senate Bill 1, prohibits “a person from knowingly wearing, carrying, or transporting a firearm in certain locations,” according to its synopsis.

The signing came as the US struggles with an onslaught of mass shootings – which have nearly doubled from 2018 through the end of last year, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive. There have been more than 220 mass shootings in the US so far this year, according to the non-profit.

CNN and the GVA define a mass shooting as a shooting that injures or kills four or more people, not including the shooter.

The gun safety bill was one of several firearms-related bills signed Tuesday during a signing ceremony, according to the Democratic governor’s office.

Moore said the gun-control measures “will help keep our communities safe from gun crimes,” and “help get guns off our streets.”

“We are taking action to build a safer, brighter future for Maryland,” he added in a Twitter post.

The federal suit was brought by the Maryland State Rifle & Pistol Association – the state affiliate of the NRA – along with a regulated firearms dealer. It calls the newly signed bill “unconstitutional,” and claims that it “further restricts where ordinary, law-abiding Maryland citizens with a carry permit may exercise their right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home …”

The suit asks the court to declare that portions of the law that require carry permits violate the First, Second and 14th amendments, enjoin the state from enforcing those portions and award damages and attorney fees for bringing the suit.

“The NRA is suing because this is illegal under the U.S. Constitution, but it’s also important to note these laws defy common sense.

“You know who isn’t going to do all of this to get a permit? And who isn’t going to worry about where it’s legal to carry? Criminals. This law will only prevent law-abiding people from exercising their rights,” D.J. Spiker, the Maryland director of the legislative action arm of the NRA, said in a statement.

“The NRA thinks more guns on the street is the solution when that is actually the problem. Everyone believes these commonsense bills will protect Marylanders, and protect the rights of legal gun owners. We’re saving lives while they are politically posturing,” said Moore’s press secretary, Carter Elliott IV.

“Every Marylander has the right to feel safe in their own communities and the governor is committed to doing everything in his power to make Maryland a safer home for everyone,” Elliott added.

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