Maryland Shall Issue writes [via ammoland.com]: We are excited about filing the Handgun Qualification License (HQL) suit. As previously reported, this suit directly challenges the Handgun Qualification License requirements imposed by Maryland law, both as set forth in the statute, and as implemented by the Maryland State Police.
Those requirements violate the Second Amendment of the Constitution by placing unjustifiable and overwhelming burdens on the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase a handgun for the home. In good conscience, we cannot allow the HQL requirements to go unchallenged.
That said, MSI has definitely not lost focus on the right to carry. Carry is still very much our mission. However, the Woollard litigation settled, for now, the facial constitutionality of Maryland’s good and substantial requirement for carry.
The Fourth Circuit’s decision in that case, while wrong, is unfortunately binding precedent on that issue. As a lawyer, I can tell you that pretty much precludes further litigation on that point, at least until the Supreme Court acts on the issue.
In the meantime, we lend support to those who continue to contest similar requirements in other jurisdictions, such as Baker in the Ninth Circuit and Grace and Wrenn in the D.C. Circuit, in the hopes of creating a circuit conflict suitable for Supreme Court review.
We are also pushing on every front in Maryland for whatever incremental changes we can obtain on carry. I don’t have to tell you how difficult that is in Maryland, but we have not given up. Not by a long shot.
Fundamentally, the HQL suit and carry are related. Both involve Second Amendment rights, as does the Kolbe case in which MSI is also a named plaintiff. A person cannot keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment if he cannot buy them, either because they are banned (Kolbe) or because it is too difficult or too expensive to navigate all the obstacles the State has placed in a person’s path (HQL).
The HQL suit highlights the burdens imposed by the HQL requirements and makes clear that the real issue is the right to self-defense, which lies at the core of the Second Amendment. A successful result in the suit will affect carry rights, as the Second Amendment law developed in an HQL suit will carry over to other Second Amendment issues. A frontal attack failed in Woollard.
It is now all about attacking on the flanks where the State’s defenses are weaker. A win in the HQL suit, even a partial win, could affect other Second Amendment issues, including carry. That’s just how the law works. We look forward to your continuing support.
Mark W. Pennak
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About Maryland Shall Issue:
Mission Statement: Maryland Shall Issue is an all volunteer, non-partisan effort dedicated to the preservation and advancement of all gunowners’ rights in Maryland, with a primary goal of CCW reform to allow all law-abiding citizens the right to carry a concealed weapon; and to the education of the community to the awareness that ‘shall issue’ laws have, in all cases, resulted in decreased rates of violent crime.
For more information, visit: www.marylandshallissue.org.