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A three judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Maryland law which requires a "good and substantial" reason in order to obtain a handgun permit to carry a handgun outside of the person's home or business.  In doing so, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision of Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Benson Everett Legg who ruled

that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home, and that the right of self-defense was impermissibly burdened by Maryland’s law.

In upholding the law, the 4th Circuit:

found that U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg used an unrealistic standard in judging Maryland’s permitting system: The lower court was wrong to overturn the law because it did not “single-handedly safeguard the public from every handgun-related hazard,” the court said

Instead, the appeals court found that the burden on citizens of proving a “good and substantial reason” is constitutional. The court agreed with the attorney general that the current system fits the state’s “significant interests in protecting public safety and preventing crime.”

Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler praised the 4th Circuit's decision.  

“Today’s ruling reaffirms the considered view of the General Assembly that carrying handguns in public without a good and substantial reason poses unique safety risks that the state may address through sensible laws,”

The law was challenged by Raymond Woollard, who was previously issued a permit to carry a gun in 2002 after his son in law broke into his home, but was denied a renewal permit in 2009 because he failed to show a "good and substantial" reason for the permit.

Woolard has the right to appeal the decision to either the full 4th Circuit or to the U.S. Supreme Court.  

The decision in this case is likely to strengthen the hands of those pushing for stronger gun control laws in the Maryland this year.  

Originally posted to night cat on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Maryland Kos, Shut Down the NRA, and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).


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