Tags: Maryland | gun | law | court | upheld

Lawyers Expect Relaxed Maryland Gun Law to Be Upheld

Wednesday, 07 Mar 2012 11:00 AM

By Greg McDonald

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A federal court decision relaxing Maryland requirements for carrying a handgun in the state is likely to be upheld on appeal, several constitutional lawyers told The Baltimore Sun.

U.S. District Court Judge Benson E. Legg’s decision, which was made public Monday, “broadly interpreted the Second Amendment’s ‘right to bear arms’ as extending beyond the home” by striking down a state requirement that citizens show a “good and substantial reason” in order to be issued a gun-carry permit, according to the Sun.

“The idea here is that, if this is a constitutional right, like all the other constitutional rights, then you shouldn’t need the government’s permission to exercise it,” Georgetown University Law Center professor Randy E. Barrett, told the Sun.

Legg’s decision surprised many constitutional lawyers, primarily because it originated in a state considered one of the most liberal in the country with restrictive limitations on gun rights that sympathetic judges usually uphold. For that reason, the Sun noted, law professors described it as a “groundbreaking” ruling that could impact states with similar gun restrictions.

“The cases that have dealt with this question in the recent years have almost all come out of the high-regulation states,” said Eugene Volokh, a professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. Those states “also tend to have high-control judges . . . [who] have said it doesn’t extend outside the home,” he said.

Legg’s ruling effectively shifted Maryland from a “may-issue” to a “shall-issue” policy that a majority of states follow, according to the Sun. Under such laws, gun-carry permits are issued fairly routinely as long as gun safety standards can be satisfied. The Sun noted that fewer than a dozen states still maintain discretionary restrictions on gun-carry permits.

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