A Good Day for Gun Rights
At issue in the case is the Maryland statute which says that the Secretary of the State Police can issue a carry permit if 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.” Md.Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-306(a)(5)(ii).
In today’s decision on the merits, the “good and substantial reason” requirement was ruled to violate the Second Amendment. The court held that the Second Amendment right is not limited to self-defense in the home. It also includes the militia and hunting. None of the Second Amendment rights can logically be confined solely to the home: “In addition to self-defense, the 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’.”
The Maryland carry license law was not “narrowly tailored,” says the Woollard opinion. Moreover, “A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights.” Rather, “The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”
The case is headed to the Fourth Circuit, which has a mixed record on Second Amendment issues. From there, Woollard could be the case in which the Supreme Court chooses to tell recalcitrant lower federal courts that Heller and McDonald really do mean what they say: that the Second Amendment includes the right to carry, albeit not in “sensitive places,” and the government may, if it wishes, require that carry be open rather than concealed.
Eugene Volokh has much more here.
Image via East Valley Tribune