Federal Judge in MD Rules State’s Handgun Permit Provision Unconstitutional

According to a Washington Post report, a federal judge has ruled that state residents no longer need to show that they have a good reason to carry a handgun outside of their home. This essentially declares a key provision in Maryland’s gun control laws unconstitutional. Maryland residents were required to have a “good and substantial reason” to carry a gun, such as a precaution against apprehended danger, but the U.S. District Judge determined the requirement violated the Second Amendment and was too broad. Under state law, applicants for a carry permit are also required to show that they do not have a history of violence, are not addicted to drugs or alcohol, and have not been convicted of a crime and sentenced to more than a year behind bars; those requirements still stand.

The case centered on a Navy veteran who was denied a handgun permit in 2009. Following a 2002 break-in and attempted robbery in Maryland by the veteran’s son-in-law, who illegally entered into the man’s Baltimore County home high on drugs and searched for the man’s car keys, the man applied for and was granted a permit to carry a handgun. After the son-in-law’s release from prison, he was allowed to renew his permit in 2006, but was denied three years later, prompting the veteran to appeal to Maryland’s Handgun Permit Review Board. The Board ruled that the man did not show a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun as a precaution against apprehended danger and the man sued in the summer of 2010.

In a state with some of the country’s tightest gun restrictions, gun rights advocates feel this decision will help them fight similar laws in other states, and a lawyer in the case say it’s a great boost for the right to bear arms. Others believe the decision could be potentially dangerous and will not enhance public safety, saying the important safeguard in the state – deciding whether or not a person has the right to carry a gun in public – has been stripped away. Maryland officials plan on appealing the decision.

Being convicted of a weapons charge in the state of Maryland can carry harsh penalties, though oftentimes those charged did not realize they were breaking the law and simply didn’t understand the state’s regulations. With prosecutors who are very tough on firearms violations, anyone facing this type of charge would be well advised to seek professional legal assistance. The Maryland firearms charges lawyers of Alpert Schreyer have years of experience defending individuals facing a possible firearms conviction and can help defend you against severe penalties. Call (866) 444-6363 for a free consultation.

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.