Judge: Maryland Gun Permit Stipulation Unconstitutional
March 07, 2012
Gun owners in Maryland have reason to celebrate.
On Monday, a federal judge struck down a Maryland gun permit requirement that states gun owners must provide a "good and substantial reason" for owning a firearm.
U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg said the stipulation appeared to be a measure by the state to limit the number of firearms a citizen may carry; while states are given some discretion as to how the Second Amendment is exercised, Legg said, Maryland's requirements only seemed to create a rationing system where only those who provided the correct answers got to own more guns.
The plaintiff, Maryland resident Raymond Woollard, filed the suit in 2010 after being denied a permit renewal in 2009. Woollard was the victim of a home invasion in 2002 and obtained a permit shortly after. However, when he reapplied for the permit several years later, the state denied his request because he could not prove that he was a victim of "threats occurring beyond his residence." He appealed the decision before taking the case to court, but was denied by a review board.
Contrary to the state's stipulations, Legg wrote that the Second Amendment extends far beyond one's household.
"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,'" Legg wrote.
The state plans to appeal Legg's decision. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Fader said in a written statement that the ruling has "very important implications of the ruling for public safety."