In early March, Federal Judge Benson Legg ruled unconstitutional the provision in Maryland law requiring a “good and substantial reason” be provided by anyone applying for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Such a contingency “impermissibly infringes on the right to keep and bear arms” wrote the Judge in his opinion. (1)
The ruling had come down in the case of Woollard v Sheridan. In 2010, Plaintiff Raymond Woollard attempted to renew his permit to carry concealed but was refused because he had not provided to Maryland State Police “…sufficient evidence ‘to support apprehended fear’…” therefore failing the “good and substantial reason” test. (2)
Judge Legg’s decision had literally introduced 2nd Amendment rights into one of the most liberal states in the nation. Previously a “may issue” state, meaning a license to carry a concealed weapon “may” be issued according to the mood of the Maryland State Police, residents would in future live in a “shall issue” state where permits must be issued upon demand to qualified (neither criminal nor mentally impaired) applicants.
“A citizen may not be required to offer a good and substantial reason why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.” So wrote the Judge in his original opinion. (2)
One month later, however, Judge Legg proved himself too cowardly to stand behind his own ruling. Granting a motion filed by liberal Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Legg stayed his earlier decision to uphold the Constitutional rights of Maryland residents until May 23rd when, upon hearing from both sides, he will decide whether to grant a permanent stay. As a result, the requirement to provide a “good and substantial reason” remains in force.
And upon what argument from the Attorney General did courageous Constitutional advocate Benson Legg base his decision to stay the 2nd Amendment rights of Maryland residents?
In the 2011, 4th Circuit case United States v Masciandaro, the majority ruled that law abiding citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, not just in the home—as Maryland would have it—but, within the bounds of the law, wherever they wished. In short, law abiding Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. (3)
But although they concurred with the opinion, 2 of the judges hedged their decision with the following, pathetic drivel: “…we do not wish to be even minutely responsible for some unspeakably tragic act of mayhem because in the peace of our judicial chambers we miscalculated as to Second Amendment rights.” (3)
Using this extraordinary example of judicial cowardice, the Maryland Attorney General suggested that if the stay were not granted by Judge Legg, “unspeakably tragic acts of mayhem” committed by the state’s concealed carry holders would somehow result and be on his head! In short, it is far too dangerous to permit Maryland citizens the free exercise of their God given and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
On May 23rd, in the courtroom of federal Judge Benson Legg, residents of Maryland will discover whether or not they must continue to provide “good and substantial reason” before being permitted to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.
Should Barack Obama be given another 4 years of rule in Mordor on the Potomac, the Maryland requirement could soon extend to the exercise of speech, religion and assembly as well. Isn’t THAT something to look forward to.
By Doug Book, Coach Is Right
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