A federal judge declared a provision in a Maryland law requiring citizens to show that they had “good and substantial reason” to receive a gun-carry permit unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Benson E. Legg said the state’s requirement infringed on the right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
Gun rights advocates are calling this a major victory. Many have echoed Legg’s statement as quoted in an Associated Press article, “A citizen may not be required to offer ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”
However, the Maryland attorney general has promised to file an appeal on Legg’s ruling. He also intends to request that Legg’s ruling be suspended until his appeal can be heard.
This case began in 2002 when Plaintiff Raymond Woollard received a concealed carry permit after fighting off a home intruder. However, he was denied a renewal seven years later because he could not prove that there was still a threat to him outside of his residence.
The Second Amendment foundation then filed suit on Wollard’s behalf.
Original press release issued by The Second Amendment Foundation on March 5, 2012:
A federal court ruling in Maryland, that the Second Amendment right to bear arms extends beyond the home and that citizens may not be required to offer a “good and substantial reason” for obtaining a concealed carry permit, is a huge victory, the Second Amendment Foundation said today.
Ruling in the case of Woollard v. Sheridan – a case brought by SAF in July 2010 on behalf of Maryland resident Raymond Woollard, who was denied his carry permit renewal – the U.S. District Court for Maryland ruled that “The Court finds that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home.”
U.S. District Court Judge Benson Everett Legg noted, “In addition to self-defense, the (Second Amendment) right was also understood to allow for militia membership and hunting. To secure these rights, the Second Amendment’s protections must extend beyond the home: neither hunting nor militia training is a household activity, and ‘self-defense has to take place wherever [a] person happens to be.'”
“This is a monumentally important decision,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The federal district court has carefully spelled out the obvious, that the Second Amendment does not stop at one’s doorstep, but protects us wherever we have a right to be. Once again, SAF’s attorney in this case, Alan Gura, has won an important legal victory. He was the attorney who argued the landmark Heller case, and he represented SAF in our Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago.”
“Equally important in Judge Legg’s ruling,” he added, “is that concealed carry statutes that are so discretionary in nature as to be arbitrary do not pass constitutional muster.”
“A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights,” Judge Legg wrote. “The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”
“Judge Legg’s ruling takes a substantial step toward restoring the Second Amendment to its rightful place in the Bill of Rights, and provides gun owners with another significant victory,” Gottlieb concluded. “SAF will continue winning back firearms freedoms one lawsuit at a time.”