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Victory in the 9th Circuit!

In a huge decision authored by Judge O'Scannlain, a split panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that Hawaii's ban on open carry outside the home in that state violates the Second Amendment under any level of scrutiny. The decision, Young v. Hawaii, can be found here. The decision is very scholarly, carefully reasoned and a powerful statement that the Second Amendment is not a "second-class" right or a constitutional "orphan."

The Young court expressly agreed with the D.C. Circuit's holding in Wrenn that the Second Amendment applies outside the home no less than it applies inside the home. The opinion also held that every law-abiding citizen enjoys this right of self-defense outside the home, not merely those who can show a special need. As the court stated, "[a]n individual right that does not apply to the ordinary citizen would be a contradiction in terms; its existence instead would wax and wane with the whims of the ruling majority." While the court did not directly purport to go into conflict with the Woollard case, which sustained the "good and substantial reason" requirement for carry permits imposed by Maryland law, the court's reasoning that that the Second Amendment applies to every law-abiding citizen directly contradicts the entire premise on which Maryland law ls based.

The court also ruled that the Hawaii statute that technically allowed for concealed carry with a permit was not an adequate substitute because counsel for Hawaii admitted in open court that Hawaii never grants such permits. The court thus concluded that Hawaii has effectively and completely banned carry outside the home and that such a ban was categorically unconstitutional. This is very big ruling, akin to the Seventh Circuit's decision in Moore v. Madigan that Illinois could not ban public carry. It remains to be seen whether Hawaii will seek en banc review by the 9th Circuit or, failing that, Supreme Court review. The decision certainly sharpens the split in the circuits. The court's analysis is a wonderful contribution to this area of law that is sure to influence future cases. We will bring you updates as they occur.

What does this mean for Maryland? Directly, not much, as Maryland sits in the Fourth Circuit which has already sustained Maryland's "good and substantial reason" against a facial challenge in Woollard. However, Woollard has been directly challenged in a pending district court case which was filed specifically to seek to have Woollard overturned by the Supreme Court. That case is still pending. The powerful opinion in Young will help formulating the arguments to present to the Supreme Court in that case as well as cases pending elsewhere, any one of which might land in the Supreme Court. These cases seek to take advantage of the split in the circuits created by the D.C. Circuit's decision in Wrenn, where the court struck down as unconstitutional DC's "good reason" requirement for carry permits. The wheels of the law grind slowly.


Latest News

Appeal in Handgun Qualification License Lawsuit Filed

Appeal in Handgun Qualification License Lawsuit Filed

On June 24th 2019, Maryland Shall Issue, Atlantic Guns, and the individual plaintiffs filed our opening brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from the district court’s dismissal in our challenge of the Handgun Qualification License. The District Court held that none of the plaintiffs had standing to complain about the HQL. In doing so, the court ignored much of the evidence of record, impermissibly acted as a fact finder on summary judgment and committed numerous errors of law in order to reach the result it did. You can read the newly filed brief HERE.

The State has 30 days to file their Brief of Appellees (the State will likely request an extension -- they always do) and we will then file a Reply brief in response. Oral argument before a 3-judge panel will then be scheduled for some months later in Richmond, VA. We will share those developments as they become available.

We firmly believe that the HQL only exists to burden and discourage law-abiding Marylanders from exercising their individual right to acquire a handgun for lawful self-defense. The suppression and rationing of ownership of guns has been the State's objective for years. Yet, unsurprisingly, the State's never ending attempt to illegalize guns has neither lessened crime nor made Maryland a safer place for people to live. One need only look to the years of increased violence in Baltimore for grim evidence of that. All that has been accomplished is to make it expensive and difficult for ordinary individuals to protect themselves and their families. As always, MSI will always stand up and push back against laws and policies that put the right of self defense out of reach from those who need it most.

Your generous support of MSI is what makes all this possible. Consider joining, renewing, or donating to MSI so that we can continue to support self defense and 2nd Amendment rights in Maryland.

Response to “The handgun board that couldn't shoot straight.”

The Sun, in its February 8, 2019 editorial, ably demonstrates once again that it does not grasp the complexity of gun law in Maryland in asserting that the Handgun Permit Review Board somehow has created a “loophole” in Maryland gun law by reversing the Maryland State Police 222 times on handgun wear and carry permits issued by the State Police. 

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