Maryland’s May Issue Carry Permit Process Ruled Unconstitutional

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Alan Gura won another court victory, this time in Maryland:

BELLEVUE, WA – 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.”

The ruling can be found here [PDF]:


The Court finds that Maryland‘s requirement of a “good and substantial reason” for issuance of a handgun permit is insufficiently tailored to the State‘s interest in public safety and crime prevention. The law impermissibly infringes the right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The Court will, by separate Order of even date, GRANT Woollard‘s Motion for Summary Judgment and DENY Defendants‘ Motion for Summary Judgment.

You know who’s a sad panda? The Brady Campaign [PDF] (I grabbed a copy of their case docket just in case they decide to toss this one down the memory hole). Apparently they had a vested interest in this case (page 70):

Woollard v. Sheridan (U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland)

The Brady Center is assisting the State of Maryland in this case, brought by the Second Amendment Foundation and Raymond Woollard, challenging the validity of Maryland’s handgun permit process. The named defendants include the Secretary and Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, Terrence Sheridan, and three members of Maryland’s Handgun Permit Review Board.

To qualify for a handgun carry permit in Maryland, an applicant must establish that he or she is an adult; has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor for which a term of over 1 year imprisonment has been imposed; has not been convicted of drug crimes; is not an alcoholic or drug addict; and has not exhibited a propensity for violence or instability that may render the applicant’s possession of a handgun dangerous. Additionally, the Superintendent of the State must determine that the applicant “has good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.”

Plaintiffs contend that the State cannot require handgun permit applicants to prove the above, as it deals with “the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.” They allege this violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs are asking for permanent injunctive relief against the enforcement of the provisions regulating handgun permits.

On March 22, 2011, the Brady Center filed an amicus brief in the case arguing for dismissal of the lawsuit.

Too bad, so sad. SAF is proving to be the unstoppable behemoth of the litigation world and Alan Gura is their super weapon. I wonder how the Brady Campaign feels right now knowing they have been entirely ineffective at stopping those of us who believe in the right to keep and bear arms from advancing.

Either way this ruling is big. It not only abolishes Maryland’s ability to issue permits on a willy nilly basis but also sets a precedence, which will allow people in other “may issue” states to challenge such barriers between their right to carry a means of self-defense. I wonder who the next violator of the Second Amendment will be to fall before the might of SAF.

One thought on “Maryland’s May Issue Carry Permit Process Ruled Unconstitutional”

  1. Now I believe it is time to challenge the no carry laws of either DC or Illinois, since the ruling used the basis that you need to be able to protect yourself where you are not only in your home.

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