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The Second Amendment Foundation and a Baltimore County, MD man have sued Maryland authorities in federal court because the man’s handgun permit renewal was turned down on the grounds that he could not demonstrate “a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 2010.
Joining SAF in the lawsuit is Raymond Woollard, who was originally issued a carry permit after a man broke into his home during a family gathering in 2002. Woollard’s permit was renewed in 2005, after the man was released from prison. That man now lives about three miles from Woollard. Defendants in the case are Terrence B. Sheridan is the Secretary and Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, and three members of the Maryland Handgun Permit Review Board, Denis Gallagher, Seymour Goldstein and Charles M. Thomas, Jr.
SAF and Woollard are represented by attorneys Alan Gura of Virginia and Cary J. Hansel of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake of Greenbelt, MD.
The lawsuit alleges that “Individuals cannot be required to demonstrate that carrying a handgun is ‘necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger’ as a prerequisite for exercising their Second Amendment rights.” Plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction against enforcement of the Maryland provision that requires permit applicants to “demonstrate cause” for the issuance of a carry permit.
“Laws that empower bureaucrats to deny the exercise of a fundamental civil right because they cannot show good cause to exercise that right can’t possibly stand up under constitutional scrutiny,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “We are supporting Mr. Woollard in this action because constitutional rights trump bureaucratic whims.”
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.
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.”
U.S. District Court Judge Benson Everett Legg noted, “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’.”
“This is a monumentally important decision,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The federal district court has carefully spelled out the obvious, that the Second Amendment does not stop at one’s doorstep, but protects us wherever we have a right to be. Once again, SAF’s attorney in this case, Alan Gura, has won an important legal victory. He was the attorney who argued the landmark Heller case, and he represented SAF in our Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago.
“Equally important in Judge Legg’s ruling,” he added, “is that concealed carry statutes that are so discretionary in nature as to be arbitrary do not pass constitutional muster.”
“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.”
“Judge Legg’s ruling takes a substantial step toward restoring the Second Amendment to its rightful place in the Bill of Rights, and provides gun owners with another significant victory,” Gottlieb concluded. “SAF will continue winning back firearms freedoms one lawsuit at a time.”
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. In addition to the landmark McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court Case, SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; New Orleans; Chicago and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and numerous amicus briefs holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.