As expected, Maryland has appealed what could be a precedent-setting ruling that declared its “good and substantial” criteria for issuing handgun permits unconstitutional.
On March 2, Judge Benson Everett Legg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Maryland concluded that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun outside the home, thereby striking down a requirement that permit applicants prove to the Maryland Handgun Permit Review Board that he/she have a “good and substantial” reason for carrying a weapon.
“A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial’ reason why he should be permitted to exercise his rights,” Legg determined. “The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”
In essence, the ruling states citizens do not need the government’s permission to exercise a Constitutional right, and that individual rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are not subject to the restrictive whims of government under the guise of “public safety.”
Especially since, as Legg elaborated, restricting law-abiding individual citizens’ access to firearms does not protect “public safety” but, in fact, endangers it.
“… If anything,” Legg wrote in his decision, “the Maryland regulation puts firearms in the hands of those most likely to use them in a violent situation by limiting the issuance of permits” to law-abiding citizens.
On March 7, Maryland announced it will appeal the decision because the ruling will “imperil public safety,” and successfully requested that the state’s gun permit law remain in place until the challenge is heard.
Not surprisingly, The Baltimore Sun and Washington Post went into spasms of hysteria, each issuing scathing editorials about how the ruling undermines government’s responsibility to ensure public safety.
Not only is it a false argument, as Legg noted and crime statistics prove, it is ultimately short-sighted, particularly when championed by organizations whose entire existence is predicated on a Constitution and Bill of Rights that “allows” them to exist simply because they have a right to exist.
One wonders: How would The Sun and The Post react if they were required to prove to a Maryland Editorial Review Board that they had a “good and substantial” reason for publishing an editorial before it was “allowed” to be printed?
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