Maryland joins AGs against convicted felons being allowed to own firearms

21 March 2024- Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief defending the federal law that prohibits people who have been convicted of felonies from possessing firearms.

In its brief, filed in U.S. v Prince, the coalition asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to overturn a lower court ruling that found the law unconstitutional.

“Keeping guns out of the wrong hands is vital to protecting and improving public safety,” said Attorney General Brown. “I am committed to upholding common sense gun safety laws, including laws preventing people with felony convictions from having access to these deadly weapons.”

The coalition argues that the Second Amendment allows governments to enact sensible and varied regulations to protect the public. In addition to the federal law, nearly every state in the country has imposed limitations on the possession of firearms by those convicted of felonies, and many have maintained those laws for nearly a century. The attorneys general also explain that while the current federal restriction establishes a clear and manageable standard, any alternative approach would be burdensome and virtually impossible to manage.

Today, in a separate case titled Bianchi v. Brown, the Office of the Attorney General defended Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This 2013 law banned assault weapons in Maryland, following the deadly 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Tomorrow (March 21), in the same court, the Office will defend another law designed to enhance public safety – requiring most people to obtain a license before acquiring a handgun – in Maryland Shall Issue v. Moore. Both hearings in the Fourth Circuit are rehearings before the full court of cases that have already been heard by three-judge panels. Attorney General Brown will continue to vigorously defend common-sense gun safety laws to protect Marylanders.

In filing today’s brief, Attorney General Brown joins the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.