Civil Rights Progress In Maryland

The Volokh Conspiracy reports that a U. S. District Court has ruled that the Second Amendment does apply in Maryland. The case is known as Woollard v. Sheridan. In an earlier case the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (the state’s highest court) had ruled that there was no right to bear arms outside of one’s home in Maryland. Maryland is presently a “may issue” state. The “privilege” of bearing arms depends on permission from the head of the State Police.

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 case is headed to the 4th Circuit on appeal.

UPDATE–The BS has a short AP story here.

UPDATE 2–Judge Legg’s opinion here.

UPDATE 3–Additional commentary by Eugene Volokh.

UPDATE 4–Progress today in Colorado today also as that state’s Supreme Court overturns a campus gun ban. (H/T, Instapundit)

UPDATE 5—Yep, it’s on its way to the 4th Circuit. The Maryland Attorney General says that he will seek a stay.

We disagree with this ruling. In light of the very important implications of the ruling for public safety, the defendants will be appealing to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The defendants will also be seeking a stay of the ruling pending appeal.

There certainly are important implications for public safety. Maryland would probably enjoy the same reduction in crime that the other states that have moved to shall issue have experienced if this ruling were allowed to stand.

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