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Md. Gun Battle Continues With Briefs Filed For & Against The Firearms Safety Act

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Maryland’s gun fight continues in U.S. District Court, where a federal judge is considering arguments on the constitutionality of Maryland’s ban on assault-type weapons.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports the state’s case got community support Friday.

Guns save lives. Save lives now. Advocates and proponents have the same theme, but different meaning.

There have been dueling rallies, contentious debate, and now court challenges to the controversial Maryland Firearms Safety Act signed into law last year.

“We don’t feel it’s the government’s right to step in and tell us how to defend ourselves,” said Craig Lester, gun advocate.

A lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on assault weapons is pending in federal court in Baltimore. Friday was the deadline to submit briefs.

Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence filed a brief in support of the ban.

“We say in our brief that these are virtually the same guns as the machine guns, which the court has said can be prohibited from sale,” said Vincent DeMarco, Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence.

Forty-five types of assault weapons and copycats are banned in the state. The gun lobby is not only challenging the law in court, but in the General Assembly this election year.

“We’re not going to allow you to pass unconstitutional laws and expect us to stand there and not say we’re going to nullify them,” said Del. Mike Smigiel, (R) Eastern Shore.

The bill to repeal the Firearms Safety Act gets a hearing March 4.

A hearing in the court case is up to the discretion of the judge.

Regardless of the court ruling, the gun battle doesn’t necessarily have to end here.

The case is expected to be appealed.

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