ACRU

ACRU Urges Court to Clarify the Right to Carry

Maryland law reduces Second Amendment’s guarantee of right to bear arms largely to home and hearth, group contends in court brief.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Maryland is unconstitutionally restricting citizens’ right of self defense outside the home, argues an American Civil Rights Union amicus brief submitted Monday to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Woollard and Second Amendment Foundation, Inc. v. Gallagher, et al, the brief, written by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara, asks the Court to hear the case, and states:

“There is nothing in the language of the Second Amendment, or of this Court’s governing, binding precedents in Heller and McDonald, that limits the Second Amendment to self-defense within the home. To the contrary, the language of both clearly applies to self-defense within the home and without….”

The case was brought by rural Baltimore County resident Raymond Woollard, who was victimized in a violent home invasion on Christmas Eve, 2002. Mr. Woollard was granted a handgun carry permit in 2003, which was renewed “shortly after [the intruder] was released from prison” in 2006. But in 2009, authorities refused to renew the permit, demanding that Mr. Woollard show evidence of immediate potential harm. Mr. Woollard sued and won in district court, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.

“A growing number of federal and state courts recognize that the Second Amendment applies outside the home as well as inside the home…,” the ACRU brief states. “But decisions of other circuits are in conflict ….This case presents an exceptional vehicle to clarify the law.”

The brief also argues that striking down Maryland’s law is a practical step:

“Honest enforcement of the Second Amendment faithful to its text and history is highly desirable, not only because it is good Constitutional law, but also because there is considerable scholarly evidence that more widespread protection of Second Amendment rights sharply increases public safety, and actually reduces violent crime, and greater restrictions actually endanger the public safety and increase violent crime.”

Download the brief here. (PDF)