President Trump picks Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court!

And it is a *wonderful* choice. While serving as an attorney in the Department of Justice, I argued a number of cases before Judge Kavanaugh, winning most, losing a few. Win or lose, I found his demeanor and questions from the bench during an argument and his written opinions and dissents to be outstanding.

In deportment and bearing, he is the epitome of judicial temperament. He is a "judge's judge" who is held in high esteem in legal circles throughout the United States. We hope that he is confirmed quickly by the Senate and will take his place on the bench of the Supreme Court when it convenes for arguments this next Term in October.

On Second Amendment issues, his dissent in Heller v. DC, 670 F.3d 1244 (D.C. 2011) (Heller II), was especially powerful. Indeed, Judge Kavanaugh's dissent in Heller II actually contributed to the later partial victory in Heller v. DC, 801 F.3d 264, 275 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (Heller III), where the D.C. Circuit struck down several of DC's registration requirements, such as the requirement that guns be re-registered every three years and the requirement that the guns actually be brought to the police station for registration. The Heller III court noted that "we agree with the statement of our colleague in Heller II that the asserted interest in police protection 'leaves far too many false negatives to satisfy... intermediate scrutiny," quoting Heller II, 670 F.3d at 1295 (Kavanaugh, J., dissenting). Similarly, Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia cited Judge Kavanaugh's Heller II dissenting opinion in dissenting from the denial of certiorari in Jackson v. City and County of San Francisco, 135 S.Ct. 2799, 2801 (2016).

Most importantly, it is hard to find a better articulation of the central issue facing Second Amendment litigation than found in Judge Kavanaugh's Heller II dissent. In that case, a majority of a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit sustained DC's ban on so-called "assault weapons" as well as DC's basic registration requirement for handguns. In dissenting from those rulings, Judge Kavanaugh stated: “Are gun bans and regulations to be analyzed based on the Second Amendment's text, history, and tradition[,] ... [o]r may judges re-calibrate the scope of the Second Amendment right based on a judicial assessment of whether the law advances a sufficiently compelling or important government interest to override the individual right? ... In my view, Heller and McDonald leave little doubt that courts are to assess gun bans and regulations based on text, history, and tradition, not by a balancing test such as strict or intermediate scrutiny.” Heller II, 670 F.3d at 1271 (Kavanaugh, J., dissenting). A Supreme Court decision embracing that test would do away with the judge empowering tiers of scrutiny that has so far largely frustrated the protection of Second Amendment rights in the lower courts.

Mark W. Pennak, MSI President


Latest News

The Dangers of Maryland's Carry Laws

On August 12, 2021, Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that a violation of Md. Criminal Law § 4-203(a)(1)(i) is a strict liability crime. Put simply, if one has a handgun on or about them and is not authorized to do so, they are guilty of violating the law. The case is Lawrence v. State, 471 Md. 101 (2021).

Section 4-203 is the statute that broadly prohibits the wear, carry, or transport of handguns within the State. Specifically, § 4-203(a)(1)(i) states:

 (a)    (1)    Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a person may not:

            (i)    wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person;

There are a few exceptions to this ban (found in subsection (b) of Section 4-203), such as one having a Maryland Wear and Carry Permit, possession in the home or business (by the business owner), or when transporting an unloaded handgun (kept in an enclosed case or enclosed holster) between a gun shop and one's residence or from their residence to a gun range. But, outside these sharply limited exceptions set out in subsection (b), the passage above otherwise broadly criminalizes having a pistol on (or about) the person. 

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MSI v. Montgomery County Update

On June 16, 2021, we filed an emergency motion for partial summary judgment on three of our counts against Montgomery County's enactment of Bill 4-21. The motion seeks to enjoin the County from enforcing their new illegal laws which will go into effect on July 16th without action from the Court. Find the motion HERE and the memorandum in support HERE. As we have stated previously, we will not sit idle while politicians make criminals of ordinary and law-abiding residents. You can learn more and find updates about this case at tinyurl.com/msivmoco.

Taking these challenges is not possible without your support! Consider becoming a member of MSI, donating, or wearing MSI apparel or picking up our accessories.

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Maryland Shall Issue®, Inc.
9613 Harford Rd
Ste C #1015
Baltimore, MD 21234-2150

Phone:  410-849-9197
Email: 
Web:   www.marylandshallissue.org