Cumberland Times-News

July 12, 2013

Supreme Court asked to void Md. gun permit requirement


Associated Press

— BALTIMORE (AP) — A gun rights group is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down part of Maryland’s handgun permit law.

The Daily Record reported that the Second Amendment Foundation petitioned the court this week, saying the requirement that applicants state a “good and substantial reason” to carry a firearm violates the right to keep and bear arms. The Bellevue, Wash.-based group says that a constitutional right should not require a special dispensation from police and that the too-vague standard allows broad discretion to reject a request.

Attorney General Douglas Gans-ler’s office said Thursday that the state plans to oppose the petition. The state’s deadline to file a response is Aug. 12.

Raymond Woollard obtained a handgun permit after fighting with an intruder in his Hampstead home in 2002, but he was denied a renewal in 2009 because he could not show he had been subject to “threats occurring beyond his residence.” The review board rejected Woollard’s appeal, finding he hadn’t demonstrated a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun as a reasonable precaution. The suit filed on Woollard’s behalf by the Second Amendment Foundation in 2010 claimed that Maryland wrongly put the burden on Woollard to show why he still needed to carry a gun.

U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg ruled last year that Maryland’s law was unconstitutionally broad and that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home. But in March, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling, saying that Legg’s “trailblazing pronouncement” was wrong.

The court found the state demonstrated the requirement helps protect public safety and prevent crime “because it reduces the number of handguns carried in public.”

The justices are not expected to decide whether to hear the case until after the next term starts in October.

In the term that just ended, the high court rejected the group’s petition in a similar case challenging New York’s handgun permit law.