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From Phillip Van Cleave [also not shown] of the Virginia Citizens Defense League:

I attended the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals proceedings on the legality of Maryland’s “May-Issue” CHP law. Bottom line:  I’m damned glad I don’t have to put up with Maryland’s Mickey-Mouse anti-liberty government. Attorney Alan Gura presented his argument to a three-judge panel that the Maryland CHP law violates the 2nd Amendment because there is no way for a citizen to legally carry a handgun for self-defense outside a home or business without having to prove some kind of need (good and sufficient reason) . . .

The Maryland lawyer spouted all the old, worn out gun-control mantras, as to why the state needs to tightly control carry of evil handguns.  He said that “public safety” was more important than any individual right conferred by the Second Amendment.  I flashed back to the 1980s as he was speaking.

Maryland claimed that D.C. v Heller said that the Second Amendment only applies to a person having a gun in their RESIDENCE, thus their CHP law was legal since it only controlled carry OUTSIDE the home.  That, of course, was pure baloney.  The Heller and McDonald rulings never said that the Second Amendment does not apply outside a residence.  The Supreme Court wasn’t asked to answer the question about outside the home carry and, therefore, didn’t.


Judge Davis brought up an idea:  what if open carry was allowed without a permit?  (In Maryland you can’t open or conceal carry a handgun without a permit.)  Basically, this would be closer to Virginia, but with a “may-issue” concealed carry permit.


The Maryland lawyer then brought up that shotguns and rifles could be carried outside the home, just not handguns.  (I suggest that Maryland Shall Issue might want to have a “shotgun picnic,” where the attendees all have shotguns slung on their backs.  They should invite the press and say, “This is silly, but based on Maryland law this is the only legal option for regular citizens to carry a gun for self-defense.  Carrying a handgun discreetly is what we want to be able to do, just like other gun owners do in the rest of the country.  Maryland makes that either impossible or impractical, ignoring the Second Amendment.”

One judge asked about only allowing revolvers to be carried and not semi-automatic pistols, since semi-automatic handguns didn’t exist when the Second Amendment was written.  Since the judge wasn’t writing with a quill pen and didn’t come to work on a horse, he’s obviously a hypocrite.

Another judge tried to imply that the Court didn’t have authority over this case, but I think Alan quashed that idea.  We’ll see.

How will the panel vote?  No way of knowing.  We should have some kind of opinion in a few months.

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  1. ******”How will the panel vote? No way of knowing. We should have some kind of opinion in a few months.”****

    Ill spare us all the suspense. Here’s what the verdict’s gonna be:

    ‘We of this court find that Maryland has a vested public safety interest in ensuring only the connected and the elite have a privlidge to keep and bear weapons. Consistent with that historical bastardization of the 2nd Amendment, we of the 4th Circuit conclude that May Issue CCW isn’t a civil rights violation and hereby consider the matter the Supreme Court’s problem to solve.”

  2. Fortunately, it has gotten easier to obtain CHP here in MD over the last year. Still too many laws though. I can drive to VA and buy a 30 rd mag and own it in MD, but I can’t buy that same mag within the state – makes no sense

    • @ marylander:

      man oh man do i love the magazine booth at the nation’s gun show in Chantilly, VA for that exact reason just because of that one booth, the rest pretty much run of the mill. I have thought for awhile that it would likely get up to the supreme court level because of our state’s history of intransigence against the 2A, hope we will have a Heller-type smack down of Gansler and his ilk.

    • I keep looking at Cabela’s black-powder .44 revolvers, and one can buy spare cylinders and carry them preloaded. I’ve often wondered if a setup like that could be nearly as fast on the reload as a modern revolver with speed strips or similar.

      Pretty sure the choice of Safariland/Blackhawk/etc. tactical holsters would be a challenge. Wonder if a Colt Navy .44 would fit in those breakaway CCW pants? Heh.

      • Good luck with the fast reload on a blackpowder revolver. You can carry a spare cylinder preloaded with powder and projectiles, but you can’t have it capped if you value your appendages. Capping the cylinder once installed in the revolver is slower than a reload on a modern revolver without a speed loader. Getting the wedge pin or center pin out to change cylinders may not be too bad if it only had one cylinder fired through it, but after that plan on tapping the pin out with a wooden dowel because of the powder fouling. They are really fun to shoot at the range, though. I have a Pietta 1858 Remington that I purchased from Cabela’s in the mid 1990’s for $99. It’s more accurate with round balls than many of my modern revolvers.

        • Good point. I was not aware that capping the charged cylinder after swapping it in would be something to consider, but it makes sense now that you’ve pointed it out.

          I was particularly amused by one author who described a charged, capped cylinder as an impact-sensitive directional destructive device. Yeah, that sounds like a bad thing to keep in your pocket or on your belt… yikes.

      • If you’re gonna go cap and ball and want a quick reload you need to do a “Josey Wales.” You’ll need 6-8 pistols but it sure speeds up the reloads.

        • Also known as the “New York Reload”, described as “the fastest way to reload a revolver is to drop it and draw another revolver”. Black powder .44 revolvers are certainly cheap enough to make this economically reasonable, though at 2-3 lbs each…

          Grocer in Grosse Pointe Blank with his ten Colt Mustangs is my favorite modern-era example of the New York Reload.

        • Your reminding me of the celts carrying three muskets and six muzzle flintlock pistols in bandoliers, then finally a claymore that ran full speed at the enemy, shooting all nine guns and throwing them away, hoping to be in slashing distance by the time their guns were all gone. Sounds like the definition of “today is a good day to die”

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong, but IIRC, revolvers were invented after 1810; hence, a bit past the time of the founding fathers. So, according to the anonymous judge in the article, flintlocks would be the only guns allowed.

  4. “I’m damned glad I don’t have to put up with Maryland’s Mickey-Mouse anti-liberty government.”
    I find it appropriate that you wrote this the first day of my week-long waiting period for a stripped AR-15 lower receiver.

  5. I wonder if the revolver/semi auto question was a test on the attorney in question to see how far he would take his arguments. Maybe the basic premise of the question was, if the weapons in question was the same as what was available when the Constitution was signed, would your arguments and position on the law be the same? Remember at this level it is not a matter of the facts of the case, but a question of law and constitutionality.

    • it’s a self-selecting sample. People don’t apply because they know that maryland is a capricious-issue state and that unless you have photos of the police chief with a goat, or are actively being raped as you apply, you don’t have a chance.

      Out of state permits are similarly out of the question. I HATE where I live, because if I make a wrong turn, or construction closes my exit, or they close the highway and dump me off a different route, I can suddenly be committing a firearms offense with jail time attached and the potential total loss of my firearms rights.

      I live in VA, on the sane side of the river, but if I accidentally cross an imaginary line when CCW, I become a criminal.

      If Maryland is forced to be shall issue, my permit application will be in the mail post-haste, same with DC.

    • The state police refused to review the avalanche of submitted applications after the initial legal victory ( and immediate stay) and returned them to sender. Clearly these weren’t counted as rejects. How ’bout a category for administrative indifference.

    • Fewer than 5,500 total requests in a year. For a state with a population of just over 5.8 million. The best estimate I can find is that there are somewhat under 50,000 active permits in Maryland. This translates to roughly .862 percent of the total population of Maryland.

      Pennsylvania, has a population of roughly 12.75 million and somewhat over 786,000 LTCF holders. This translates to somewhat over 6.165 percent of the total population.

      This means that PA issues more than seven times as many permits as MD. That’s assuming we trust the only numbers I was able to find for MD, which I’m not sure add up.

        • Agreed although I’m pretty sure it would cause a stink anywhere in MD. You MIGHT not have a problem in the far western end of the state but I wouldn’t count on it.

      • It’s not new. There was an AG letter about it a while back. It basically said, “sure, you can do it, but if anyone complains, including the cops, we’ll smack you with a disturbing the peace charge to get you off the street”. It is, at best, decent cover for the cops not throwing you in jail for walking an uncased rifle to your car.

  6. Revolvers were, by and large, a 19th century invention. Tools are tools, subject to change and improvement without notice..

    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall. Gura is tearing down the old to build the new.

    Tiocfaidh ár lá!

    • I wonder if the attorneys argued that the Constitution allowed for protection of patents for the very purpose of encouraging invention and improvement of technology and thus the issue of when particular inventions came to be should not effect the right to bear arms.

  7. Posted on TheFiring Line, apparently a repost of Krucam from MDShooters:
    The Senior Judge on the panel was Judge King, and he did the lion’s share of the talking. Monday morning quarterback suggests he is likely going to be the one guaranteed vote against us.

    Met a reporter from the B’more Sun (Ian) and spoke with him for a few. Met briefly with a female reporter (forgot her name) from WashPo, we might see something from them as well.

    MDSP Superintendent Brown came in, dressed up in his dress uniform. You’ll never guess who ended up sitting next to me for all 4 cases… Just a little uncomfortable…

    State Atty Matthew Fader had the first time up in front of the panel. Judge King almost immediately started going into Younger Abstention. Younger Abstention was brought up in District. It suggests a plaintiff needs to exhaust all remedies before “bothering” the Federal Courts. In Woollard’s case, he was denied by MDSP, appealed to the hangun review board and was denied, he COULD have gone through the MD State Courts after that….that is where Judge King was leading…

    1) Snowden & Scherr are two cases in the MD State cellar showing why it would be a waste of time exercising a Carrry case through State Cts
    2) Why is this Appellate Judge wondering about this in the first place???
    3) Perhaps, just wishing it wasn’t before him??

    Back to Mr Fader’s time on the clock…

    – Fader brought up to the Court that Younger was put to rest at District.
    – That didn’t stop Judge King, he asked about Rooker Feldman Abstention, if Younger didn’t work….
    – The State of MD recognizes the right outside the home….you can go to the range, militarily train, yada, yada, yada. Oh, only handguns are impacted by 5-306/4-203, so rifles & shotguns are OK. Yep, and the Judges had fun with that and the State held firm on that…
    – Judge Davis chimed in, asking if the statute impacted Concealed Carry Only. He’s clearly exploring the Open vs CCW angle. Recall, VA has no-permit Open Carry, permit-req’d CCW.
    – Fader replies that it is only a “Carry” statute, not Open/Concealed specific.
    – Judge Davis starts suggesting GSR for CCW, no GSR for Open…I want to catch the audio, but he was definitely going down that path…
    – Judge Diaz (?) brought up that the District Court Injunction may have been “too broad”. He definitely seemed to be probing to a degree at that time.
    – Fader goes on with his prepared remarks, saying while Self Defense is core to the right, it only exists “In the Home”, outside the home hasn’t been established yet. (sorta truth)
    – Discussion then went into the CA4 Masciandaro case. Much was brought up on Judge Niemeyer’s dissent (pro-2A) in Masciandaro.
    – Judge Diaz mentions that the 2A doesn’t have a GSR qualifier…
    – Judge Diaz (?) mentions that Open Carrying of Shotguns seems kind of counter-intuitive…

    Alan Gura’s time came up next….

    – Judge King almost IMMEDIATELY started querying on Rooker-Feldman. We’ll know for sure in a few days, but I believe it had to be at least the first 5 minutes of our 15 minute slot dialog abouto Rooker-Feldman. Gura says that this was explored at the Sister Case Kachalsky in NY, and was ruled out at District.
    – After ~5 minutes of Rooker-Feldman, Judge King ate more time off the SAF clock (~2 minutes more) by going in the MD State Court case Williams (bus stop public carry of a gun). Gura had to explain this was a different animal. Judge King asked (knowing the answer) if this went to the Supreme Court (a petition was filed), Gura answered it had, but the Petition was denied. Judge King has a smile, I swear…
    – Judge Davis (I’m starting to warm up to him) asks Gura if they could rule against a semi-auto, but permit a revolver with Open Carry (again, I like his thinking).
    – Gura says probably not, brings up weapons in “Common Use” for “Lawful Purposes”, per Heller.
    – Judge King then starts probing whether the existing statute may be Legit. Clearly probing for a potential remand by my read….

    Fader gets up for his rebuttal.
    – States the state has not conceded the “scope” question (assuming this means outside the home), Judge King is nodding in agreement.
    – Judge King, I think asked if Williams was Persuasive.
    DISCLAIMER: I want to hear the tape to make sure I heard right…if so, we’re fugged. I can’t believe an Appellate Federal Judge would ask that question to begin with…again, I need to hear the audio, particularly during Fader’s rebuttal time.

    I’ll let you all chew over that. I wanted to get something to the group, I want to get out and enjoy the beautiful day with a quick 20 miles on the bike…blow off some nervous energy….

  8. I just read the Appellant’s brief for the case, and I don’t see anything about Maryland’s “may issue” law…
    From the Brief
    “Plaintiffs-Appellants (“Plaintiffs”) seek declaratory and injunctive relief from laws barring the acquisition of handguns outside one’s state of residence.”
    Statement of Issues:
    1.When state actors enforce laws barring individuals from engaging in specific transactions,do individuals whose transactions are thus thwarted have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the laws to which they are subjected?
    2.Does the Second Amendment guarantee a responsible, law-abiding individual the right to acquire handguns outside her state of residence?

    Basically, it boils down to the fact that the law as written make it impossible for an individual living in DC to purchase a handgun in another state and bring back into DC. Federal law prohibits dealers from transferring firearms to individuals who are residents of other states, except for FTF transactions for shotguns and rifles [Handguns are not included in the FTF exception]. DC allows residents to bring their purchased long-guns to the police station for registration.

    Lane, after checking with DC police regarding their legality, purchased two handguns in Virginia. “However, Lane was unable to take possession of the handguns, as the District’s only federal firearms licensee, Charles Sykes,lost his lease and with it, his ability to transfer handguns to District residents. But for the [Federal] interstate handgun transfer prohibitions, Lane would have taken possession of the two handguns shehad ordered directly from the [Virginia] store.”

    I’ll listen to the oral argument for myself and check back in…

    • You were looking at Lane. Try Woollard v. Sheridan, a challenge to MAryland’s requirement of “good cause” for issuance of a carry permit (open or concealed.) Trial judge said that the only good cause necessary to exercise second amnedment rights is the right itself. Which makes a lot iof sense–rights supercede the government, so how can the government’s permission be required to exercise it? Seems like the 4th DCA would much rather punt than decide, or deny the existence of a right to carry outside the hoem in anticipation that SCOTUS would grant cert and answer this “difficult” question for them.

    • Figured it out… Gura argued 2 cases before the 4th Cir. this week, but only one of them is posted so far. Busy guy… Sorry for any confusion.

  9. At the end of next month I will be driving from western Pennsylvania to North Carolina. I had already mapped out a route that takes me around Maryland, which was the only state that would deny me my right to defend myself on the most direct route. I guess Ohio and West Virginia want my honestly earned money more…

  10. I’d like to simply point out for the one judge, revolvers as we know them today also didn’t exist in 1790. Flintlocks for concealed carry!

  11. I would like to point out that the government doesn’t seem to make arbitrary or capricious rulings on other licenses or permits. And at least most of those are not mentioned in the Constitution. No one in the government seems to arbitrarily say you don’t get that driver’s license, plumbers, surveyors, cosmetologist, nutritionist….

    But the Constitution specifically says the people can keep AND BEAR arms.

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