A group of 21 Attorneys General from across the country have joined together to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to toss Maryland’s concealed carry law over its “good cause” requirement.
The case is called Malpazzo v Pallozzi, and it’s been sitting in conference at the Supreme Court for a few months now. The AG’s that filed the brief are urging the court to accept the case, and strike down the law as a violation of the Second Amendment rights of residents. From WHSV in West Virginia:
“We must protect the right to self-defense both inside and outside of one’s home,” West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey said. “The Second Amendment does not discriminate between the two. We urge the court to stand firm in protecting the right to bear arms as a fundamental right and one that extends beyond the home.”
Maryland law states that any resident who wants a concealed carry permit must provide a “good and substantial reason” to be granted one by local authorities.
State lawmakers say it’s a restrictive law that would prevent most average people from being able to get a permit.
This is not the first challenge to a “good cause” requirement that’s reached the Supreme Court. In fact, a case out of New Jersey called Rogers v. Grewal is currently in conference at the Supreme Court as well. It’s likely that the court his holding on to these cases until they reach a decision in the NYC gun case heard earlier this month. Once that decision comes down, the court could send these cases back to lower courts with guidance from their opinion in the NYC gun case, accept one or more of the cases, or (less likely) refuse to hear any of the cases they’ve kept bottled up in conference for several months.
The coalition of other state officials is asking the Supreme Court “to clarify that state laws cannot prevent a law-abiding citizen from carrying a firearm outside of his or her home.”
[West Virginia] Attorney General Morrisey argues that the Maryland law “reduces that fundamental right to a privilege – one the state grants only to the rare citizen who can demonstrate to a bureaucrat’s satisfaction that he or she is in dire-enough straits to warrant carrying a handgun.”
The brief argues that lawmakers in their 21 states also have interest in public safety, but won’t “extinguish constitutional rights” for that goal.
The entire brief is well argued and worth checking out, but this argument gets to the heart of the matter:
Not only does history demonstrate that the general right to keep and bear arms was a fundamental right of citizenship, but the text and history of the Second Amendment confirm that the core of the right extends beyond the home. That is because the core of the right is, just as Blackstone said, “the natural right of resistance and self preservation.”
If the average resident of Maryland cannot obtain a concealed carry license, then their right to bear arms is being infringed, argue the AGs. They also note that, contrary to the claims of gun control advocates, SCOTUS has never limited the Second Amendment to the confines of your home.
Nor has the Court limited this constitutional right or its purpose to the home. In Heller, the Court dealt with the right to keep arms within the home where the need for self-defense is “most acute,” but it did not do so at the expense of the right to bear arms in public. The Court’s opening line in McDonald is thus instructive: “Two years ago … this Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense….” Thus, because the need for self-defense does not end at the front door of the home, neither does the right.
It could be a while before SCOTUS does anything with the Maryland carry case, but it’s great to see so many state Attorneys General urge them to hear the challenge and to rule in favor of gun owners seeking to exercise their right to bear arms.