Gun store owners sue over law requiring suicide prevention, conflict resolution pamphlets

Gun store owners sue over law requiring suicide prevention, conflict resolution pamphlets

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) – Gun rights activists are suing Anne Arundel County over new requirements for gun store owners. Four Maryland gun shop owners along with the Second Amendment advocacy group Maryland Shall Issue say the county’s new requirement that store owners display and distribute pamphlets on suicide prevention and conflict resolution violates their First Amendment right to free speech. “There’s a very fundamental constitutional right, and that’s the right not to be compelled to speak the government’s message,” says Mark Pennak of Maryland Shall Issue. “The government has no right under the constitution to force any citizen to say what they want them to say.” In January, the county council passed a bill requiring gun store owners to display the pamphlets and hand them out for every gun or ammo sale. The law penalizes violators with a $500 fine on the first strike and $1,000 fine for every violation after that. FOX 5 spoke with Anne Arundel County Attorney Greg Swain who says the burden is minimal on gun store owners, and the law is constitutional. The government typically has more authority to regulate speech if it involves a commercial transaction such as warning labels on children’s toys and cigarette packs or requiring food establishments to list calorie counts. “Government, when it sells a toy, can say, ‘Do not put this toy in the reach of people under three,’” says Mark Graber of the University of Maryland Law School. “Government, when it sells a […]

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