Reason to Carry

Gun rules overturned


You don't need a state-approved reason to exercise your Second Amendment rights, according to a federal judge in Maryland. In March the judge struck down a state law requiring permit applicants to give a "good and substantial reason" for carrying handguns in public.

The case involved Raymond Woollard, a Baltimore County resident who brandished a shotgun as part of a struggle with an intruder who wanted to steal his car on Christmas Eve in 2002. Arguing that the intruder, his drug-addled son-in-law, was likely to return, Woollard applied for and received a permit to carry a handgun—twice. But when he tried to renew his permit in 2009, he was told there was not sufficient evidence of a continuing threat. In a 2010 lawsuit filed with help from the Second Amendment Foundation, Woollard argued that the permit denial violated his right to keep and bear arms.

U.S. District Court Judge Benson Everett Legg agreed. "A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and substantial reason' why he should be permitted to exercise his rights," Legg wrote. "The right's existence is all the reason he needs." Legg emphasized that his decision does not limit "Maryland's ability to declare that a specific applicant is unfit for a permit because of some particular aspect of the applicant's character or history."