US District Court upholds right to conceal in Maryland

Adam Jablonowski | Contributor

Maryland’s goal to control the amount of firearms carried by residents is unconstitutional, according to U.S. District Judge Benson Everette.

A decision in  Woollard v. Sheridan on Monday made by Maryland’s U.S. District Court upholds that the Second Amendment “right to bear arms is not limited to the home.” Therefore, Maryland citizens should not be required to submit a “good and substantial reason” when applying for a concealed carry permit.

Woollard’s case charged the state police superintendent and members of the Handgun Permit Review Board for putting the burden of proof on a citizen and wrongly denying Woollard’s application in 2010.

“People have the right to carry a gun for self-defense and don’t have to prove that there’s a special reason for them to seek the permit,” Woollard’s attorney, Alan Gura, told the Associated Press. Gura has fought handgun bans in the District of Columbia and Chicago.

Plaintiff Raymond Woollard received a concealed-carry permit after a struggle with a thief at his home in 2002. His license renewal application was denied by the state of Maryland because he could not prove he was subject to “threats occurring beyond his residence.”

Judge Everette’s decision secures the right to bear arms by upholding a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment.

“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.”

Maryland Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett commented on the issue in a press release, writing, “I applaud U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg for upholding our Constitution’s Second Amendment right for law-abiding Marylanders to own and use a handgun in defense of themselves and their family.”

Gun permits are common in the United States. Maryland and six other state governments issue permits at their discretion. Gura noted that cases similar to Woollard’s “have not succeeded in U.S. District Courts, but they are being appealed.”

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