11/23/2012

Oral arguments in Maryland Concealed Carry Case, 14 states now oppose requiring applicant give justification to carry handgun

An audio of the 4th Circuit oral arguments is available here.  A written discussion of the arguments is available here.  Maryland Shall Issue has this summary of the oral argument:
Remember, when they come up with excuses to avoid the question, it's because they won't like the answer. Gura was winning when the judge talked about anything but the merits of the ruling.

We're winning. The simple fact is that – based on the initial reports – the most anti-gun judge on the panel could not find a way to challenge the merits of this ruling. That has real meaning. I think he's probably seeking ways to leave open doors to restrictions. Even those will be tough. . . .
Generally, I thought that Alan Gura did a good job arguing here, especially in pointing out the Supreme Court decisions in Heller and McDonald on what the term bear means, but I thought that two of the judges seemed very hostile to Gura's argument.  All three of the judges were nominated by Democrats (Judge Robert B. King and Judge Andre M. Davis were nominated by Bill Clinton and Judge Albert Diaz was nominated by Obama).  The only small thing that I would have added is that there is more than a simple burden to produce evidence on the part of the applicant.  In this case, the "objective" standard could be so narrowly defined as to effectively ban virtually everyone from getting a permit. And in Maryland's case that seems to be what is happening.  The Washington Post has a story available here.

The beginning of the McDonald decision reads this way:

this Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense and struck down a District of Columbia law that banned the possession of handguns in the home.
I missed this earlier, but Kansas added its name to the list of states that argue permit applicants shouldn't have to provide a justification for carrying concealed.
Kansas has joined 13 other states in supporting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment by agreeing that people don’t need to show why they want a permit to carry a concealed firearm. 
Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Thursday he has added Kansas to a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Richmond, Va. The appellate court is reviewing a decision by a Maryland district court that struck down a Maryland requirement that a person must show a reason for needing a concealed permit before one is issued. 
“Citizens who qualify to have a concealed carry permit should not be required to clear the further hurdle of showing the government why they need to have a firearm,” Schmidt said. “The Second Amendment protects the individual’s right to keep and bear arms and does not allow the government to demand to know the reason why.” . . .  
The other 13 states signing on with the brief are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. 
A copy of the brief for the now 14 states is available here

UPDATE: Gura has unfortunately lost the case that he had in the 2nd Circuit.  Decision available here.

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