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Gun owner laws struck down in Maryland, Oregon. Is Illinois next?

Oregon judge found that state’s gun owner ID law violated the state’s constitution.

Published: November 24, 2023 12:41am

(The Center Square) -

Recent rulings across the country against gun owner permit laws are fueling hope among Illinois’ gun rights community that the days are numbered for the state’s Firearm Owner’s ID card.

The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday ruled that Maryland’s permit to buy and own a handgun is unconstitutional.

"The challenged law restricts the ability of law-abiding adult citizens to possess handguns, and the state has not presented a historical analogue that justifies its restriction; indeed, it has seemingly admitted that it couldn't find one," the majority opinion for the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court said.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said his administration is “looking at all options and reviewing the ruling.”

In Illinois, gun rights advocate Todd Vandermyde compared Maryland’s law that requires fingerprints with Illinois’ FOID card.

“It’s similar to a FOID card, but it’s like the FOID card on steroids in certain ways like we’ve seen the anti-gunners in the [Illinois Legislature] try to propose,” Vandermyde told The Center Square.

Several years ago, Illinois legislators attempted to require fingerprints for the more than 2.4 million FOID card holders in Illinois. That failed to get enough support. Instead, fingerprints are optional for quicker FOID application turnaround time in Illinois.

Vandermyde said such licensing requirements delay the ability for someone to lawfully possess a firearm, arguing that violates an individual's Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. A few years ago, thousands of FOID applicants waited months, if not more than a year in some cases, for their applications to be approved or renewed, leaving them without the ability to buy, let alone possess, a firearm or ammunition.

Recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent that gun control laws must have similar examples in founding-era history has those defending such laws scrambling, Vandermyde said.

“The state admitted in the Maryland case there were no analogous laws,” Vandermyde said. “They said that twice at the oral arguments, and then they made these other arguments about militia laws that we have seen the attorney general here try to bootstrap up and so the court said ‘no, you can’t do this.’”

The U.S. Supreme Court precedent is clear, Vandermyde said.

“Government must show analogy or regulation law stemming from 1791 that addresses the conduct here and there was nothing there,” he said.

In Oregon Wednesday, a state circuit court judge found that state’s gun owner ID law violated the state’s constitution, enjoining implementation of the voter-approved referendum.

“Oregon citizens have a right to self defense against an imminent threat of harm, which is unduly burdened by Ballot Measure 114,” Harney County Washington Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio said in his opinion.

Vandermyde said such cases across the country give the gun rights community in Illinois some hope.

“This imports very poorly for Illinois’ FOID card and I think it’s getting to the point where the FOID card is on life support,” he said.

Challenges against Illinois’ FOID card continue in state and federal court.

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