Local officials revolt against Maryland gun control law

WASHINGTON – There is a slowly growing revolt within rural Maryland counties against the state’s new gun control package.

The measure, dubbed Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013, was passed and signed this year after being championed by Governor Martin O’Malley.

Among other things, the law bans more than 45 different kinds of weapons, puts a 10-bullet limit on magazines and requires new handgun purchasers to be licensed and fingerprinted during a rigorous background check.

Lawmakers in both Carroll and Cecil counties have, in recent weeks, adopted resolutions refusing to utilize county resources to enforce provisions in the gun control package.

Cecil officials went so far as to label their jurisdiction a “second amendment sanctuary.”

Garrett County Sheriff Robert Corley also promised this week to enforce provisions only in certain instances. He told county commissioners the law, as it was passed, is unconstitutional.

But their defiance may amount solely to grandstanding, according to the state.

“They may not like what it says ,but it’s clearly the law of the state,” says Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler.

“They’re not lawyers. They’re not the court and they’re certainly not the Supreme Court,” Gansler says.

Gansler added that local sheriffs swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Maryland when they took the oath of office.

Major groups opposing the gun control measure are resolute to challenge the law in the courts after it takes effect in October.

A drive to force a referendum on the issue failed last week.