05 March 2012

Maryland's handgun permit law unconstitutional

To carry a firearm in Maryland, you have to meet six criteria:


1. Is 18 years of age or older.
2. Has not been convicted of a felony or of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
3. Has not been committed within the previous 10 years to any juvenile detention center for longer than one year.
4. Is not an addict or alcoholic nor has ever been convicted of a narcotics offense.
5. Has not, based on the results of investigation, exhibited a propensity for violence or instability.
6. Has, based on the results of investigation, "good and substantial reason" to carry a handgun, including a finding that the permit is "necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger."

The first five are fairly common. Number six is very difficult to meet, and is the primary reason why Maryland is known as a "can issue" state rather than a "shall issue" state (in most cases, can means no).

Today, a federal judge ruled that requirement #6 is unconstitutional.

No doubt, the state will fight this ruling. But maybe, just maybe, Maryland is one step closer to "shall issue."
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