Judge Rules Md. Gun-Carry Provision Unconstitutional

Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012 10:43 AM

By Greg McDonald

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A federal judge has ruled a provision of Maryland gun law regulating firearm possession is unconstitutional, saying it “impermissibly infringes the right to keep and bear arms” guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
 
In his opinion issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Benson E. Legg in effect said police have no authority to require people who apply for a gun-carry permit to show a “good and substantial reason” for doing so. He said the Second Amendment essentially guarantees they do not need a reason, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.
 
“A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights,” Legg wrote. “The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”

The Sun reported gun-rights advocates hailed the ruling as a victory, viewing it as a “bolster to public safety.” But the newspaper also noted opponents criticized Legg’s opinion as a dangerous precedent, describing it as “a return to the Wild West.”
 
The Maryland attorney general’s office moved immediately after the decision for a stay of implementation, vowing to appeal the ruling. At the same time, gun-rights activists promised to fight the appeal.
 
One of them, Republican state Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr., told the Sun he plans to move ahead with legislation that would wipe the possession law off the books.
 
“I have a bill that does exactly what the court said we needed to do,” Smigiel said. 

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