It looks like gun nuts and Second Amendment proponents alike have potentially just found a new home to roost their Glocks.
Yes, I know the link I just provided was to a very long and seemingly boring Maryland federal district court opinion. But don’t worry, you don’t have to read it because I’ll provide the “bullet” points (ba-dum-bum) for you. The opinion in Woollard v. Sheridan just came down the pipeline a few days ago and holds as unconstitutional a Maryland gun control statute.
You read that right gun huggers, unconstitutional; as in going against the highest law in our land.
However, what’s most interesting is that the gun restrictions in the Maryland statute itself aren’t all that different then the wording you’d find in the gun permit laws of other states. Maryland allows the carrying of concealed weapons outside the home, but only if the carrier can show “good and substantial reason” to carry a gun. The Maryland law in question generally restricts this to people who run businesses that have a high chance of being robbed, law enforcement, judicial officials, private security staff, and those that can show an “objectively heightened threat above and beyond personal anxiety.”
Sounds groovy, right? However, it’s the last category that the federal district court had trouble with. The court’s ruling essentially states that it’s unconstitutional for Maryland to require people to lay out a specific objective threat and instead should allow anyone with reasonable apprehension of their safety to carry a gun outside of their home for protection.
This is huge because it means that the federal district court in Maryland is going old school with their Second Amendment interpretation and, as many critics have pointed out, is in essence condoning the carrying of guns for plain old personal protection, ala Texas. However, I should also note that this ruling has already been reserved for appeal, so who knows what the federal appellate court will say about its underling’s decision.
The federal district court’s ruling does bring up an interesting point on the current state of gun laws in America. As it stands today, most states don’t allow the concealed or unconcealed carrying of guns in public.
Now I’m not a gun nut by any means, but I’ve never understood the reason why most governments are so against allowing concealed carry. Yes, I’ve heard the arguments: increase gun violence, possibility of increase gun threats, and so forth. But these reasons aren’t very compelling to me because the whole point of gun control laws is to prevent the unauthorized use of guns. The ironic part however is that they don’t seem to do much to prevent those in society that we want to keep from using guns from actually using them.
By this I mean, career criminals, gang members, robbers, and every other person gun control laws are aiming to stop will nonetheless use and carry guns because, well, they’re criminals and they’re going to carry and use guns no matter what. But this isn’t to say that all former convicts are forever convicts, but rather what I mean is that if someone is planning to commit a crime where the use of a gun is necessary, that person probably isn’t going to care that they’re also breaking a gun control law.
The fact of the matter is that gun control laws only end up harming those that really need protection the most. Chances are a law abiding citizen isn’t going to be carrying a gun and thus becomes a potential target to wrongdoers since they’ll know that their victim won’t be able to fight back as effectively. Gun control laws remove the ability for lawful citizens to utilize a power crime deterrent. And aside from increasing the sentence of those criminals caught with a weapon in public, gun control laws don’t do much by way of protecting citizens.
Like I said before, I’m not a gun advocate in any sense of the word, but I think federal district court in Maryland made the right decision in this case. Even though their ruling will most likely be struck down on appeal, hopefully their opinion will gain some traction and help put the issue of gun law reform back into the public’s attention.
It seems like there should be a much easier way to restrict gun usage from the more criminally inclined in society while also allowing private citizens a chance to still protect themselves. Something as simple as a Megan’s law type gun restriction could be the answer. I think by simply enacting a law prohibiting gun crime convicts from carry guns in public while allowing everyone else to do so is a good place to start.
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