Maryland requires that before a person can be issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm, that person must demonstrate "good and substantial reason to wear, carry or transport a handgun as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger in the State of Maryland". That requirement has been challenged by a group known as the Second Amendment Foundation in a case called Woollard v. Sheridan. According to the Wiki, this is the factual background:
In 2002, Raymond Woollard was the victim of a home invasion by his son-in-law, Kris Lee Abbot. Subsequent to this crime, he applied for and was granted a concealed carry permit in 2003, and a renewal was granted in 2006 after Abbot, having violated his probation from the home invasion, was released from prison. However, in 2009, a second renewal application by Woollard was denied on the grounds that Woollard had failed to provide evidence of a continuing threat to his safety. Woollard appealed to the Maryland Handgun Permit Review Board, and was again denied; the Board stating that Woollard "...ha[d] not submitted any documentation to verify threats occurring beyond his residence, where he can already legally carry a handgun."The trial court found that Maryland's requirement violated the Second Amendment (full text of decision is here (.PDF)). The key to the decision was that, in the court's mind, the state of Maryland chosen to simply reduce the number of firearms carried in a concealed manner:
A law that burdens the exercise of an enumerated constitutional right by simply making that right more difficult to exercise cannot be considered ―reasonably adapted‖ to a government interest, no matter how substantial that interest may be. Maryland‘s goal of ―minimizing the proliferation of handguns among those who do not have a demonstrated need for them,‖ id. at 40, is not a permissible method of preventing crime or ensuring public safety; it burdens the right too broadly. Those who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment surely knew that the right they were enshrining carried a risk of misuse, and states have considerable latitude to channel the exercise of the right in ways that will minimize that risk. States may not, however, seek to reduce the danger by means of widespread curtailment of the right itself.I think the trial court got it right when it cautioned that First Amendment jurisprudence could not be readily ported over into Second Amendment uncharted legal territory. But I think the court erred (BTW the case is on appeal) in, as it appears, assuming that there is any federal right to carry a firearm in public, concealed or not concealed, Scalia's 5-4 rant-o-rama in DC v. Heller notwithstanding, as that case involved possession of a firearm in a residence for defense of oneself in the residence.
I also think the court got it wrong in not focusing on the equal protection argument (had people with a similar situation been granted permits?) which would seem to have a bit more force to it.
According to our friends at the NRA, the Woollard case is one of several seeking a determination that the Second Amendment applies to firearms carried outside of the home (link):
Woollard is one of several cases around the country in which plaintiffs are seeking to make clear that the right to bear arms applies outside the home. Among them are the NRA-supported cases of Shepard v. Madigan (pending in federal court in Illinois) and Peruta v. County of San Diego, pending in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.It's certainly interesting that when it comes to Second Amendment issues, the right wing seems to welcome judicial involvement. If the plaintiffs in Woollard and the other cases prove to be right, that there is a Second Amendment right to carry a firearm outside of the residence, the judiciary will become involved all levels of detail. For example, can carrying of a firearm be prohibited on a bus, in a school, at a bank, or in a church? Could a state require firearms safety courses as a precondition? Would service of a domestic violence restraining order sufficient to cause loss of the (supposed) right to carry firearms? All these things and many more would presumably be addressed by the courts, even though it seems to me that the power of the NRA already gives guns sufficient rights vis-a-vis the legislatures. (BTW, I love how it is that guns have rights. As Mitt Romney might say, "Guns are people too, my friend."
Maybe I'm living in a dream world, but I don't find it necessary to go about armed to the teeth to be secure in this society.
Not only that, but in all this discussion about the carrying of firearms outside the home, there is a strange lack of discussion about defensive raiment. if the goal is to become one's own policeman, well, police wear body armor, yet I never (or at least very seldom) seem to read about such attire being worn along with the weaponry, with of course the 100 round magazine massacre in Aurora as a prominent exception. From the Wiki (source of all knowledge):
About 30 minutes into the film, police say, around 12:38 a.m., he re-entered the theater through the exit door. He was dressed in black and wore a gas mask, a load-bearing vest, a ballistic helmet, bullet-resistant leggings, a throat protector, a groin protector and tactical gloves.Indeed, it would seem to me that if one were really anticipating trouble, for appropriate attire one need look no further than those overzealous restribution artists Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu, the perpetrators of the highly unauthorized bank withdrawal that led to the North Hollywood shootout in 1997: Per the wiki:
In this case, approximately 650 rounds were fired at two very heavily armored men, who had fired approximately 1,100 rounds. The responding police officers directed their fire at the "center of mass," or torsos, of Mătăsăreanu and Phillips. Each man was shot and penetrated by at least ten bullets, yet both continued to attack officers.Now, I would call the ability to be shot 10 times and still return fire a significant advantage in a gun fight. Even Don Quixote wore armor. Our modern Don Quixotes of the Second Amendment don't seem quite so prepared as him.