Mar 25, 2013
Washington, DC -- In another important victory for sensible gun laws, a federal appeals court reinstated Maryland's strong restrictions on public gun carrying. The decision in Woollard v. Sheridan by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously reversed one of the gun lobby's few victories among the hundreds of challenges to gun laws brought since the U.S. Supreme Court's Heller decision recognizing an individual, non-militia-based right to arms. The Court upheld Maryland's law that only allows handguns to be carried in public by persons found by law enforcement to have a "good and substantial reason" to do so. A Maryland trial court had found that Maryland's law violated the Second Amendment.
"This important decision is the latest recognition that the Second Amendment must allow law enforcement to do its job protecting and defending our communities, and it can coexist with strong, sensible gun violence prevention laws that keep guns off our streets," said Jonathan Lowy, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence's Legal Action Project Director. "The gun lobby should join with the vast majority of Americans who support strengthening laws, instead of trying to deprive law enforcement of the tools they need to keep guns off the streets. Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and those rights cannot be infringed by an overly broad right to bear arms."The Brady Center's Legal Action Project assisted the Maryland's Attorney General office throughout the case, and filed an amicus brief, which was joined by the Major Cities Chiefs, Maryland Chiefs of Police, and the International Brotherhood of Police Organizations. Every "may issue" concealed carry law, that allows law enforcement discretion to reasonably restrict the carry of guns in public, has been upheld by the courts, including in New York, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
The Brady Campaign is the nation's largest citizens' lobby to prevent gun violence. We represent the voice of the overwhelming majority of Americans who are tired of living with the constant tragedy of gun violence and are in favor of strong laws and policies that will save lives. We are the light that exposes politicians who are putting the American people at risk, empowering the American people to hold them accountable for decisions and actions that undermine public safety.
We are driven by the focused vision of a nation where all Americans are safe at home, at work, at school, and in our communities.
Dan Gross is the President of the Brady Campaign and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. A photo and more information about Dan Gross is available here.