As reported here, on March 30th Judge Legg granted a temporary stay of his ruling in Woollard v. Sheridan. In that case, he ruled that the “good and substantial reason” requirement to receive a Maryland handgun permit was unconstitutional.
The temporary stay order set three deadlines for briefs to be filed. The first was an April 19th deadline for the state. The second is May 9th for the plaintiff’s response. And a final brief is due from the state on May 23rd. Following that, Judge Legg will issue his decision on whether or not a permanent stay is appropriate while the ruling is being appealed.
Today, as ordered, the state submitted their first brief in support of their motion for a permanent stay pending appeal.
The state made several arguments in their brief which can only be described as jaw-droppingly misleading.
They start by expressing deep concern for those who do have a “good and substantial reason” to receive a handgun permit and how unfair this ruling could be to them because in the event that the state wins their appeal, they plan on revoking any permits issued during the interim. They fail to mention that “good and substantial reason” is often a code word for “campaign donor” in may-issue states such as Maryland.
They then go on to make the astonishing argument that, despite the almost universal experience of the rest of the country to the contrary, “shall issue” laws “likely increase the rate of aggravated assaults.” Without going into too much detail here, I will direct you to page 35 of Guy Smith’s Gun Facts for an excellent summarization of the data and studies which debunk this particular assertion.
The next argument they make is to parrot the thoroughly discredited VPC claims about permit holders committing crimes. Please take a moment to read my earlier article on just how flawed that particular claim was.
Finally, they made the assertion that a restriction on handguns did not foreclose armed self-defense since long guns could be legally carried openly for self-defense outside the home. I imagine that the first Baltimore citizen who tries such a thing will be treated with all the courtesy that the Baltimore PD can muster.
In summary, I do not think the state did itself any favors with this brief. The plaintiffs will certainly have no problem taking apart each of these arguments thoroughly. And I believe Judge Legg’s reaction to the brief will be nothing short of irritation. He is no stranger to the topic of Second Amendment jurisprudence nor is he one to be swayed by simple-minded, emotional arguments unsupported by facts. To be treated as if he were would seem to be little more than an insult to his intelligence.
UPDATE #1: Plaintiffs have filed their response brief
UPDATE #2: The state has filed their final brief