GREENBELT, Md. (WUSA) --- A federal judge this week ruled the State of Maryland has no constitutional right to require its citizens to provide " a good and substantial " reason for wanting a permit to carry a concealed and loaded weapon in the state.
If his ruling is not overturned by a higher court, the state will be required to stop asking for a good and substantial reason when applicants request the permit.
"Today's decision brings Maryland in line with the vast majority of other states in the union in not requiring individuals to show a good and substantial
reason to exercise their constitutional rights.
"As of 14 days from now it lifts the prior stay on the ruling by the judge and allows us as Marylanders to enjoy the rights that most of the country has long been enjoying," said Cary Hansel, the lawyer for a Baltimore County man who was denied renewal of his permit because the state did not find he had a good and substantial reason for wanting that renewal.
Advocates of stronger gun controls are appalled by the new decision.
"It's an outrageous and reckless ruling. It means that Maryland police will be forced to issue licenses to carry loaded hidden handguns, even to
people like the Colorado shooter who they may suspect are dangerous but who can pass a simple check. It means guns on the streets, parks and playgrounds from Baltimore to Bethesda unless the Fourth Circuit intervenes to block this dangerous decision," said Daniel Vice, a senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence,which as been an active participant in the case.
Hansel says the concerns are unwarranted.
"That does not mean that it will be a free for all in Maryland because we are keeping the vast majority of important standards that the entire rest of the country recognizes; things like background checks, things like IDs, things like fingerprints. None of those things are disturbed by the ruling, only the requirement that before we exercise a constitutional right we have to state a good and substantial reason," he said.
Vice is not convinced. "As we saw in Colorado, someone might be able to pass a quick check but be extremely disturbed, and the idea that if police see someone like him walk into their station, are concerned about the danger he poses and yet have no choice but to issue him a license, so you can carry loaded hidden handguns in the streets and playgrounds where our children play, that's dangerous. That's not what our Second Amendment means," he said.
Hansel says this is about the meaning of the constitution."As goes the Second Amendment, so goes the rest of the constitution, and we do not want to live in a country where we have to show a good and substantial reason to exercise our rights," he responded.