Friday, March 23, 2012

Gun Owner's Rights

I have to make a comment about gun owner rights. I get legal alert emails from the NRA so I can stay informed on what's going on today in that particular arena and the email I read this morning got my back up.

I firmly believe in free exercise of a right, no matter which, on the grounds that it is a right and if someone so chooses they may exercise it. Neither you nor I need to provide anyone else a reason. That is the nature of a right. Logically it follows that means the negative side of exercising a right is not limiting it, it simply is choosing to NOT exercise it. It's an on/off switch, not a thermometer.

Here's an excerpt from today's NRA email:
Unquestionably the hottest issue in Second Amendment litigation today is whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry firearms outside the home for personal protection—and if so, what might be the limits on that right. Until recently, far too many courts have wrongly claimed that because the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago only struck down bans on handgun possession in the home, that’s all there is to the Second Amendment.
Now, there are signs that this resistance is weakening. In a big win for gun owners’ rights in Maryland, on March 5, a federal judge ruled in the case of Woollard v. Sheridan that a key provision of the state’s gun laws is unconstitutional.  Judge Benson Everett Legg declared that Maryland's requirement for a "good and substantial reason" to obtain a concealed-carry permit violates the Second Amendment protection of the right to keep and bear arms. Though this is not an NRA-funded case, both the result and the reasoning give hope for future progress on the issue.
"The Court finds that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home," Judge Legg wrote in his 23-page ruling. "In addition to self-defense, the right was also understood to allow for militia membership and hunting. To secure these rights, the Second Amendment’s protections must extend beyond the home: neither hunting nor militia training is a household activity, and 'self-defense has to take place wherever [a] person happens to be.'’'
Judge Legg added, "A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and substantial reason' why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right's existence is all the reason he needs."
Good job Ludge Legg! That is exactly the type of logic that should be applied in this, and any other rights exercise situation.

Maryland's laws currently allow the state to deny a permit if the requester can't produce evidence "to support apprehended fear (copies of police reports for assaults, threats, harassments, or stalking). So if there is no evidence of a 'current threat' the state can stop you from protecting yourself in public. 
So let me get this straight. I have to wait to be threatened to be able to carry a handgun? Are you kidding? What if I need to protect myself before that permit comes through? Am I supposed to submit and be a victim until I can show that I am one?

Geez I'm glad some folks in Maryland challenged this.

Now of course Maryland has already filed a motion to find out if Legg intends to file an injunction to prevent Maryland from enforcing current law. Hopefully Legg follows through and files that injunction.
Marylandites get ready for unrestricted legal possession on handguns outside the home finally!

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