Lawsuit Challenges Constitutionality of MD’s Red Flag Law, Raises Questions About Rights v. Safety
Written by: Sam Orlando
Legal Challenge to Maryland's Controversial Gun Law
In a move that legal experts are calling a landmark action, Bochner PLLC, a New York law firm, filed a lawsuit on August 22, 2023, in the United States District Court to challenge the constitutionality of Maryland’s Red Flag Law (Maryland RFL). The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of plaintiffs, primarily identified as Willey and others, who argue that the law’s "reasonable grounds" provisions violate several constitutional amendments.
Lawsuit Highlights Constitutional Quandaries
The suit aims at the heart of one of America’s most contentious policy arenas: gun control and individual rights. The plaintiffs are contesting two specific "reasonable grounds" provisions (§§ 5-603(a)(1) and 5-604(a)(1)) embedded within Maryland's Red Flag Law. The argument is rooted in the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which guard against unreasonable searches and seizures and offer equal protection under the law, respectively.
Detailed Legal Claims: A Four-Count Indictment
The lawsuit delineates the grievances through multiple counts:
Claim One alleges that the "reasonable grounds" clauses of Maryland’s RFL are unconstitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Claim Two further argues that the law in its entirety violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, which protect the right to bear arms and ensure equal protection under the law.
Prayer for Relief: Plaintiffs Demand Jury Trial and Multiple Forms of Redress
The plaintiffs are not merely seeking a declaration of unconstitutionality; they've put forth a comprehensive "prayer for relief," which includes:
Preliminary and permanent injunctions against the enforcement of the questioned provisions and the Maryland RFL as a whole.
A jury trial to determine compensatory, punitive, or nominal damages awarded to Willey.
Recovery of attorney's fees and related costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
Implications: More Than Just Maryland
While aimed at a state-level law, the lawsuit has the potential to reverberate nationally. Legal analysts predict that if successful, this action could set a precedent, making it easier to challenge similar laws across the country.
A Delicate Balance: Public Safety vs. Individual Rights
The question at the heart of this lawsuit is whether the state’s aim to prevent gun violence justifies potential encroachments on individual liberties. Bochner PLLC, led by Edward Andrew Paltzik and Serge Krimnus, both members of the New York Bar, is confident that this lawsuit represents a critical juncture in America's ongoing struggle to balance public safety with constitutional rights.
As the nation waits, the lawsuit could serve as a tipping point in the battle over gun control and individual rights, potentially setting a judicial precedent that could reshape the legal landscape for years to come.