Some Marylanders have long complained about restrictive state regulations in regard to concealed firearms, which they say basically amounts to a ban on the practice. The goal of a new federal legal challenge is to force changes in the application process to allow more people to obtain permits.

The Second Amendment Foundation, an organization that promotes citizens’ rights to own and carry guns for personal protection as well as hunting and other sporting activities, was joined by several other pro-gun groups in filing the lawsuit.

Also participating are the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Maryland Shall Issue Inc. and three private citizens. Named as defendants are Woodrow Jones III, secretary of the Maryland State Police, and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, in their official capacities.

The lawsuit contends that a requirement that an applicant come up with a “good and substantial reason” for wanting to tote a concealed handgun — documented evidence of “concrete threats” or recent assaults — is used as an excuse to deny their request. We have heard that navigating Maryland’s extensive application process is burdensome at best and downright oppressive at worst.

“Anti-gun Maryland officials have been using this dodge for years,” said Alan M. Gottlieb, Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice president.

Maryland is sandwiched between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where obtaining concealed carry permits is much easier, but does not honor permits issued in other states.

The Free State has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country, which pleases some citizens and angers others, especially in rural counties.

Whether the latest legal action hits its intended target is yet to be seen, but Second Amendment rights advocates will be watching closely and we will, too.

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