Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Major Second Amendment Case

The Supreme Court decision in Heller established that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to "keep and bear Arms," leaving the broad contours of the right for future decisions. A major development occurred today in Woolard v. Sheridan, a Maryland federal district court case. Maryland law requires applicants for a carry permit show a "good and substantial reason" that they need to carry a weapon. The District Court held that the law violates the Second Amendment for several reasons, the most important being that the Second Amendment extends a general right to carry outside of the home for self defense:

In today’s decision on the merits, the “good and substantial reason” requirement was ruled to violate the Second Amendment. The court held that the Second Amendment right is not limited to self-defense in the home. It also includes the militia and hunting. None of the Second Amendment rights can logically be confined solely to the home: “In addition to self-defense, the 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’.”

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