A federal judge struck down a Maryland law requiring individuals to prove that they have “good and substantial reason” for seeking a handgun carry permit from the state.
“A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights,” wrote U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg. “The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”
The suit was brought by Navy veteran Raymond Woollard, who lives on a farm in rural Baltimore County. On December 24, 2002, Woollard’s son-in-law, Kris Lee Abbott, on a drug-induced high broke into Woollard’s house during a family gathering in search of his wife’s car keys so he could go buy more drugs. Woollard momentarily stopped Abbott by aiming a shotgun at him, but Abbott wrested the gun away from him, only to be halted again by Woollard’s son, who also had a gun. Woollard and his son then kept Abbott at bay until the police arrived two-and-a-half hours later.
Abbott was convicted of first degree burglary and put on probation. He was later incarcerated for violating his probation.
Woollard, who now knew that he could not count on the police to come to his aid in an emergency, applied for a handgun carry permit in 2003. The permit was granted, as was Woollard’s request to renew it three years later, just after Abbott was released from prison. However, when Woollard attempted to renew his permit again in 2009, his request was denied by the Maryland state police on the basis that he had not demonstrated to their satisfaction that he was in danger. His appeals were denied on the same basis.
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