Gun rights advocates have reason to smile today; a victory in Maryland on this issue is a victory for every State.
"A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and substantial reason' why he should be permitted to exercise his rights," Legg wrote. "The right's existence is all the reason he needs."
Plaintiff Raymond Woollard obtained a handgun permit after fighting with an intruder in his Hampstead home in 2002, but was denied a renewal in 2009 because he could not show he had been subject to "threats occurring beyond his residence."
Woollard appealed, but his appeal was rejected by the review board, which found he hadn't demonstrated a "good and substantial reason" to carry a handgun as a reasonable precaution. The suit filed in 2010 claimed that Maryland didn't have a reason to deny the renewal and wrongly put the burden on Woollard to show why he still needed to carry a gun.
"People have the right to carry a gun for self-defense and don't have to prove that there's a special reason for them to seek the permit," said his attorney Alan Gura, who has challenged handgun bans in the District of Columbia and Chicago as an attorney with the Second Amendment Foundation. "We're not against the idea of a permit process, but the licensing system has to acknowledge that there's a right to bear arms."
In his ruling, Legg wrote that Second Amendment protections aren't limited to the household.
"In addition to self-defense, the (Second Amendment) 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,'" Legg wrote.