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Judge Rules Maryland's Handgun Law Unconstitutional

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Maryland's requirement that holders of gun permits show a "good and substantial" reason for ownership is unconstitutional.
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Maryland's requirement that holders of gun permits show a "good and substantial" reason for ownership is unconstitutional.

A federal judge has ruled that Maryland's handgun permit law is unconstitutional. In the ruling filed early Monday in Baltimore, U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg wrote, a requirement that residents show a "good and substantial reason'' to carry a handgun infringes on the rights of residents in Maryland.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Raymond Woollard, was granted a handgun permit in 2002 after he was threatened during a home invasion, but his renewal was denied in 2009 because he couldn't show he was subject to "threats occurring beyond his residence."

Dave Workman spokesperson for the Second Amendment Foundation which brought the suit on Woollard's behalf, says the judge made the right decision: "He also made it abundantly clear that the second amendment does not stop at somebody's front doorstep."

Greg Shipley spokesperson for the state police, the agency responsible for issuing the permits, says the matter is under review: "Right now we are waiting on that legal counsel from our attorneys."

Anti-gun advocates with the  say they expect the ruling will likely be reversed.

Dan Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says the "right to bear arms" is often taken out of context.

"Well the rest of the amendment talks about a well-regulated militia, and that’s what the concept of bearing arms meant," says Vice. "When you’re in your home, you have the right to have that gun for self-defense, but when you go out in public, if you’re not in a militia, then the government can regulate that right."

Vice also says he doesn't think the ruling will survive on appeal.

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