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Earlier today, the U.S District Court in Maryland issued its ruling in Woollard v. Sheridan. [Click here to read the decision.] “The Court finds that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home.” What’s more, Free State citizens no longer need a “good and substantial” reason to receive a concealed handgun permit. Today’s victory for gun rights follows the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald decisions, and the defeat of Wisconsin’s concealed carry ban. It also reflects a cultural shift towards gun “normalization.” In other words, guns have become acceptable. Make that desirable. And in unexpected (for some) places. For example, we hear that black voters in Chicago are saying to pols, “The gang bangers have guns. Why can’t I have one?” Rest assured complacency is not on the menu. But the questions remains: are we winning?

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  1. As a Maryland resident who hopes to soon take advantage of this ruling, I say we are winning every time one of these anti-2A laws is struck down in the courts, every time laws expanding gun rights are passed, and for every person that takes a new or expanded interest in protecting themselves and their families, target shooting, or hunting. Some of the steps of our progress are bigger than others, but each one is a step in the right direction.

  2. AW YES go MSI! the email of the success of their lawsuit made my morning. Interesting range of topics in the free state political forum. on the governor’s side we have gay marriage, that has been getting all of the media attention, while this victory is not even in the Washington Post today, but it is in the Baltimore Sun:,0,6504189.story

    i wonder if this is a difference in political agenda, or is the bmore sun simply trying to provide full perspective on issues that impact Free State residents?

    “For example, we hear that black voters in Chicago are saying to pols, “The gang bangers have guns. Why can’t I have one?”

    There are plenty of Black folks who want to exercise this right in urban areas of MD as well. I’m just lucky i don’t have to dead with Rhambo’s agenda in Chicago.

  3. not a total slam dunk of an opinion but it does contrast nicely with the recent Madigan case in IL. I suspect Madigan will be overturned by the 7th circuit (since they already ruled in Ezell in a similar analysis). My concern is with the NJ and CA cases. I can see the appeals courts there punting on overturning those to see if the Supremes take up a review, which I presume they would. All plaintiffs in these cases have been well researched prior to suit so they are choir boys, literally.

    I say – give in 2 yrs and IL (including Chicago) will have conceal carry if the IL Legislature doesn’t throw a bone that way before then.

  4. Two things I take away from this case. First, as this court held, and as I’ve said many times, a person’s right to self-defense simply cannot and does not end at his or her front door.

    Second, there’s this: “A citizen may not be required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right’s existence is all the reason he needs.”

    I’m not sure that any court anywhere has ever said it better.

    Are we winning? I prefer to think that sanity is winning, and it’s about time.

    • + 1.

      I hate that word… every since the Sheen explosion, but yes, things are definitely going our way. We are, however, a far cry from finished. We will not be done until all states do away with CCW laws/permits and allow all law-abiding citizens to buy and carry.

      I do fear that our progress will turn may gun owners complacent.

      Also, Keep in mind, just one more obamination appointment to the supreme court WILL destroy us for many decades.

      • just one more obamination appointment to the supreme court WILL destroy us for many decades

        Rabbi, I’m not sure that we can stop the Obama steamroller. That guy can outspend the Republican candidate by ten to one. But if the Republicans can take the Senate and hold the House, Obama can be somewhat defanged and his SCOTUS appointees rejected.

        • I don’t think that’ll be a factor this election Ralph. The Citizens United ruling will ensure that spending by super-PACs equalizes things a bit. Just look at the huge amount of money being deployed for the various primary candidates, by such a small amount of donors.
          Like I said further below, I look forward to where gun ownership and carrying is as non-political as driving a car.

        • Agree with Josh on the spending angle. But there’s another reason for optimism. As I was opening the wine last night my wife was watching Huckabee, as she’s wont to do. I actually heard him say very positive things about Mitt. Without spelling it out, if that continues then the chances in November improve dramatically if Mitt is the candidate.

          • If Romney is the nominee and you are including RNC and SuperPac spending, I’ll be surprised if the spending difference is greater than 4:5 by November 1st. Some of the very large 2008 DNC donors are highly likely to pull a fade, and there is a layer of Romney spending which is still off the radar, I believe. Well, now you’ve made the election interesting. Laugh.

      • I disagree. Heller and MacDonald are now stare decisis. With the Court’s past history of respecting past decisions–even ones everyone agrees are wrong (like the Slaughterhouse cases discussed by Justice Thomas in MacDonald), the probability of a rejection of the existence of a right to keep and bear arms in case of confrontation will likely survive any change in personnel.

        • You are correct, in that McDonald and Heller won’t be overruled. But they will be limited and 2A will die aborning.

          • Indeed. Level of scrutiny has yet to be determined. Were the court to apply rational basis to the 2nd, all gun control laws would stay intact.

            We need to backfill McDonald with a few cases before we breath easy.

  5. I am simply amazed at the amount of normalization guns and concealed carry (and especially open carry) has experienced in the past decade, especially anyone who can remember the “dark days” (so to speak) of the nineties when I really thought Feinstein’s “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ’em in” was going to become a reality within a decade. Not to mention the abomination of 10-round magazines. I definitely don’t take the current state of affairs for granted however.

    • The amount of normalization is petty compared to the way it was before the assassinations of the Kennedys and MLK. I used to ride my bike to rifle practice in NYC with a .22 slung over my shoulder in a soft case. Try that now and be prepared to spend five years in Dannemora.

  6. We have won the media battle with the progressives on this issue. They think it important because is shows that the Constitution means something and is not infinitely malleable as a “living document”. The question in doubt is if we will be able to stop the slide toward socialist tyranny and move back toward a limited government.

    I think that we have won the general philosophical debate here, but the dying MSM has enough power yet to move us into a very difficult to reverse socialist tyranny. An Obama second term could consolodate Obamacare and all its implications. That is the crutial battle that will determine the war to limit government to Constitutional restraints. Consider the ability of the MSM to make contraception (totally uncontroversial until two months ago) into a major issue, while nearly totally ignoring the Fast and Furious gunwalker scandal.

  7. Are WE winning? I guess WE are winning. But it depends on your definition of winning. Many individuals have died in order for US to obtain the freedoms we have and have also died defending our rights. Are they counted among the winners? It’s nice to have some court cases that simply confirm our rights. If the second amendment is ever struck down WE will surely have lost.

  8. Many individuals have died in order for US to obtain the freedoms we have and have also died defending our rights.

    It’s sad but true that everybody dies. I’m trying to put it off for as long as possible, but still, I guess it’s better to die for something than to live for nothing.

  9. Ralph, is today’s ruling as big as Heller? A federal court has ruled that the requirement of a “good” reason is unconstitutional. That has to set an amazing precedent for us, right?

    • It’s only a start. The ruling is law in Maryland. It will be appealed to the Circuit Court, where anything can happen.

      It’s not as big as McDonald or Heller, but it might turn out to be huge. SCOTUS doesn’t really want any more 2A cases. It’s done its work and want to move on to other things.

      But if there is a split in the Circuits, with some holding that carry outside the home is a right and others holding otherwise, then the Supreme Court might feel compelled to involve itself and sort things out. Because the Constitution can’t mean one thing in Maryland and a different thing in New York.

  10. Conceal carry is slowly becoming so mainstream that, like contraception, it really doesn’t make sense for either party to make it an issue. Its not quite there yet, but I think that day will arrive within 15 years.
    I think its in the same stage as gay marriage… lot of folks who oppose it, but the winds of change, particularly generational, are pulling it into the mainstream. If you really, really look at the serious, hard hitting “gun grabbers” as a cross-section.. you’ll notice that they are aging rapidly. It really is a dying issue. Of course, its all been dramatically helped along by the conceal carry explosion that started in Florida.
    I look forward to the day that websites about guns are really just about the technical issues, best holsters, latest, greatest reviews, and caliber debates.

  11. When this stuff happens, and in the usual strongholds of idiocy no less, all Americans win. Setting precedent wherever possible that supports the Constitution should be a goal of anyone of sound mind. Unfortunately, many are not.

    We’ve won another battle, but the war isn’t over. When NY, NJ, CA and MA have constitutional carry and all nonsensical bans on “scary looking” things are but a foul memory, then we’ll have won.

    • When NY, NJ, CA and MA have constitutional carry

      Hey man, I’m 64. By the time that fantasy comes true, I’ll be 1064.

      • That’s what many would have said in the mid 80s if you’d told them that in 20-odd years, there’d be four unrestricted carry states, 37 shall issue, and only 9 that are “iffy”.

        20 years ago we had what amounts to the exact opposite of what we have now. And the good guys are gaining momentum.

  12. I don’t think it’s so much “winning” as it is the flag being on our side of the line in this eternal tug of war. As has been said, there will never be total victory; as certainly as there will always exist logical, moral, and freedom-defending people, there will always exist the enemies of those virtues.

  13. I realistically think Obama will win and be re-elected. I am hoping the Senate goes Republican and Republican gains are found in the House.

  14. Yes, we are winning.

    Those of you who think otherwise need to go back to the mid-70’s through the late 80’s and look at the lack of substantial progress on our side at that time to see what a sea change we’ve had. Too many of you are youngsters who don’t remember what the national conversation on guns was like starting in the late 70’s. We were losing and losing badly clear up through 1994. The NRA was populated with tons of old fogies who wanted to toss the RKBA “zealots” overboard. These old farts thought that it was OK to allow bans on handguns and “assault weapons” as long as the political hacks didn’t threaten their over-and-under shotgun.

    It wasn’t until the Brady Act and the “Ban on Some Scary Looking Weapons” passed Congress and gun owners tossed the Democrats out of control for the first time in decades that the political winds really shifted.

    In the legal arena, we’ve made huge strides. For those of you too young to remember, the publication of “The Embarrassing Second Amendment” by Sanford Levinson was the first consideration that there *might* be an individual right therein. We’ve gone from that clear through to a SCOTUS case that says it is an individual right and incorporation of that right upon the states. That’s a huge move for the SCOTUS in such a short time. We’ve dispatched the argument (made in legal circles as well as among the laypeople) that RKBA applied to only militias, and that the National Guard was the “militia.” You youngsters have no idea how many times this specious argument was tossed around by lawyers and political hacks in the 80’s and early 90’s, with utterly straight faces. We had no less than Warren Burger, retired Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, belittling people who thought the Second Amendment was recognizing an individual right. That’s gone and done now.

    For those of you who think that we’re not making progress because you’re living in smoldering dung-heaps like CA, MA, NY, NJ, IL – here’s some advice: Move. Not just because of RKBA issues, but because it will profit you financially in the future. If you haven’t paid attention to the budgets in these states, you should, because they’re set to financially implode under the weight of their social spending and state employee comp packages. These states aren’t just bastions of stupidity on the CCW/RKBA issue. They’re stupid clear through to the bone on damn near everything and their stupidity is about to become very expensive to the taxpayers in those states.

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