A federal judge on Tuesday rejected requests to suspend Maryland’s new ban on the sale of assault rifles and to halt enforcement of a new handgun licensing program.

In denying a temporary restraining order, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake said the plaintiffs undercut their argument by waiting to challenge the law until a few days before it took effect.

The constitutional challenge to the assault rifles ban — and whether the Second Amendment guarantees the right to buy an assault-rifle to protect the home — will be the subject of a future hearing and remain to be decided. Blake said that based on evidence presented so far, she was not convinced that the plaintiffs would ultimately succeed. The parties are scheduled to meet Thursday to set the next court date.

National Rifle Associationlobbyist Shannon Alford said Tuesday’s ruling laid the framework for the continued legal challenges to the law.

“The fat lady hasn’t even taken the stage, much less sang,” she said.

It’s interesting Alford mentioned that particular rotund songstress, as the plaintiff’s apparently calculated tardiness was part of the state’s winning argument for denying the injunction.

This being Maryland, it is quite possible and perhaps even plausible that the injunction would have been denied regardless of when it was filed, but by filing just days before the law was to take effect, the gun dealers gave the state and the judge an easy excuse to simultaneously toss their case and make them look like they were profiteers, happy to exploit the rush on guns.

Whoever was in charge of the public relations strategy for this case really screwed up in the short term, regardless of the eventual outcome in court.

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