Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:44 pm
Court won't hear arguments against Md. gun law
By JESSICA GRESKOAssociated Press
The high court on Tuesday refused to hear from Raymond Woollard and the Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation Inc., who said the law violates the Second Amendment.
Maryland is one of about half a dozen so-called "may issue" states where residents must demonstrate a reason to get a permit to carry a gun in public. Those states include California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Hawaii. The legislation in some of those states is also the subject of legal challenges.
Woollard initially obtained a permit allowing him to carry a handgun outside his home after his son-in-law broke into his Baltimore County home in 2002. The permit was renewed once, but Woollard was denied a second renewal in 2009. State officials said Woollard failed to demonstrate any ongoing danger outside his home. Maryland law does not recognize a vague threat or general fear as an adequate reason for obtaining a permit.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, and the Supreme Court refused to review that decision.
Alan Gura, a Virginia-based lawyer for the Second Amendment Foundation, said Tuesday he was disappointed with the court's decision.
"This was a strong case," said Gura, who is also involved in legal challenges to similar laws in California and New Jersey with the Second Amendment Foundation.
Gura also argued the last two major gun cases before the Supreme Court, District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010.
The Maryland Attorney General's office had asked the Supreme Court not to hear the case. Attorney General Douglas Gansler said in a statement Tuesday that his office was pleased with the court's decision. Maryland's law makes the state "a safer place for families to live and work and allows protections for those individuals who demonstrate the need," the statement said. Lawyers argued in a brief filed with the court that the Court of Appeals decision was consistent with prior decisions of the Supreme Court other lower courts.
Maryland does not require residents to have a permit to carry a gun at their home or business or in connection with activities such as hunting. The state says that from 2007 to 2011, state police received more than 23,000 original and renewal requests from people who wanted to carry a gun outside those places. The state says nearly 94 percent of requests were approved. About 14,000 people have active permits to carry a weapon.
A new Maryland gun law that went into effect Oct. 1 was not at issue in the case. The law gives the state some of the nation's tightest gun laws. It bans 45 types of assault weapons, though people who owned the weapons before the new law was passed are allowed to keep them. The law also requires people to submit fingerprints to get a license to buy a handgun. That law is also being challenged in court.
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