Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Amicus brief in Woollard v. Gallagher, Maryland right to bear arms case

Earlier today, I filed an amicus brief in Woollard v. Gallagher, currently scheduled for an expedited hearing around October 23 before the Fourth Circuit. The case is an appeal from the decision of the federal district court that Maryland’s granting of handgun carry permits only to persons who can prove a specific, imminent threat is unconstitutional. The winning lawyer in the case below was Alan Gura, representing Raymond Woollard and the Second Amendment Foundation.
The brief is filed on behalf of the  two major professional associations of police firearms trainers: the International Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association (ILEETA); and the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, Inc. (IALEFI). Also joining the brief are Professor Clayton Cramer, and the Independence Institute.
Here’s the Summary of Argument:
Strong protection of the constitutional right to the licensed carry of handguns for lawful self-defense does not interfere with police efficacy in cracking down on illegal gun carrying.
Data from law enforcement agencies shows that persons with carry permits are far more law-abiding than the general population. Assertions that licensed carry harms public safety are based on false data from a gun prohibition group.
The case can be resolved without need for a standard of review, because the near-complete suppression of an enumerated constitutional right can never be constitutional.
Maryland law, like the laws of states which generally comply with the Second Amendment, leaves ample discretion for denial of permits to unsuitable applicants, and allows denials for many reasons other than felony conviction.
Upholding the decision of the district court would be consistent with precedent in other states protecting the constitutional right to bear arms.
In addition to the Fourth Circuit’s Woollard case, there are major cases on the right to bear arms currently pending before the Seventh Circuit and the Ninth Circuit. There may a good possibility that at least one of them will eventually be heard by the Supreme Court, perhaps in the 2013-14 term. 

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