Maryland’s Anne Arundel County has been hit with a federal lawsuit for allegedly violating the First Amendment rights of local gun shops with a mandate those businesses post and make available county-produced “gun safety” literature that discusses suicide prevention.
The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board declared in a Tuesday editorial the lawsuit “screams the kind of Second Amendment absolutism that only hurts their cause.”
“It strikes us as roughly the equivalent of requiring employers to warn workers about safety hazards, and seems no greater a burden than providing a printed receipt,” the editorial says. “It’s certainly far less onerous than the health warnings required on each and every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States.”
Plaintiffs in the case are Maryland Shall Issue and four gun dealers: Field Traders and Pasadena Arms, both of Pasadena; Cindy’s Hot Shots of Glen Burnie; and Worth-A-Shot of Millersville, the editorial noted.
The pamphlet in question was developed “in cooperation” with the Connecticut-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. It is similar in nature to information developed in a pilot program in Washington State a few years ago involving the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association, cooperating with the Forefront Suicide Prevention project at the University of Washington. SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb championed the effort.
The editorial goes a step further, however. For some reason, the National Rifle Association gets dragged into the spotlight as the newspaper argues, “It is unfortunate that groups like Maryland Shall Issue and the National Rifle Association raise a lot of money on the local and national stage by scaring their members silly with sky-is-falling assessments about gun rights.”
NRA is not a plaintiff in this legal action, according to the court document.
And there was this: “We do not oppose responsible gun ownership, but polls have consistently shown a lot of Marylanders would like to see further restrictions.”
Gun rights advocates contend that constitutionally-protected fundamental rights are not subject to popularity polls.
While this is unfolding in U.S. District Court, the gun prohibition lobby has been ramping up its rhetoric against the firearms industry. Everytown for Gun Safety and its subsidiary, Moms Demand Action, have released email blasts alleging, “For too long, gun manufacturers have been able to flood our communities with guns and get away with no consequences. They’ve spent more than 20 years resisting any efforts at transparency and accountability—even as their greed destroys lives across the country.”
“We must hold the gun industry accountable for destroying our communities and encouraging far-right extremism,” says a separate missive over the name of Moms founder Shannon Watts.
Both groups have been demanding—along with the Joe Biden administration—that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act be repealed. That’s the federal law prohibiting “junk” lawsuits against gun manufacturers designed to bankrupt them with court costs. There is nothing in the law that protects gun makers from defective product liability.