Patrick Shomo, President of the Maryland Shall Issue -The Citizens Defense League of Maryland, released this statement today regarding the great win in the Woollard case.
“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.”
That simple truth was all it took to rule that Maryland unconstitutionally denies carry permits to law-abiding people. The US Federal District Court in Baltimore reminded us – in a single line – that our civil rights belong to ‘We, The People’, and not ‘They, The Government’.
Maryland Shall Issue welcomes this ruling. Maryland law required the issuance of a carry permit to law-abiding people only if they meet one or more requirements, including a “Good and Substantial Cause” above that of the average citizen. The Court ruled that such a requirement could not survive the scrutiny of the US Constitution. The right to armed defense is one of the few enumerated, fundamental rights that we possess, and the state may not simply wish it away.
The impact of this decision – in the immediate case – is that the law used to deny your rights is unconstitutional. Technically, this makes Maryland a Shall-Issue state, as of now. MSI anticipated this decision and supported this case through funding and outreach. We are excited by the win, but also ready for the next steps. The state will not take this quietly, and has already announced their intention to appeal the ruling and also to request a stay on its implementation. It will likely be several weeks before such action is contemplated by the courts.
During that time, many have asked MSI, “What does this mean for me, and is now the time to apply?”
We say: If you can afford the fees, feel free to apply. It will tell the state to stop denying you the lawful exercise of your rights.
While arguing this case, the state claimed that their approval rate is greater than 90%, while conveniently omitting the fact that few will apply for a permit they know the state will not approve. The state has also claimed that the people of Maryland have little interest in this fundamental civil right. They are wrong.
Your application will join many others. We do not know how the state will handle your application. Technically, under this ruling the state cannot deny you for failure to provide a ‘Good and Substantial Cause’ to exercise your right. That said, no outcome is assured when dealing with Maryland politicians bent on maintaining a system of patronage that approves 25 years of permits for well-connected bankers, but never one for the common man. The state will fight – they might delay application processing through the time of their appeal. They are going to ask the courts to let them continue to deny our rights while they spend yet more taxpayer dollars crafting inane arguments that claim Maryland residents are more likely to commit crime when exercising their right than the 43 states that are Shall-Issue. It is clear that the state believes law-abiding Maryland people are simply more bestial than the rest of the nation. In the end, Maryland’s tired arguments will fail. When the higher courts affirm this ruling, each application denied is a civil right denied. And in the event the state does not get their stay, well…then Maryland Shall Issue.
If times are tough for you, please stand by. In spite of this ruling, there is risk when dealing with a state that has done all in its power to deny your civil rights for decades. We promise there are going to be many ways to assist in the weeks and months ahead.
As for the application itself, when it asks for “Reason for handgun permit” (9a), please note “For Self Defense and All Lawful Purposes”. You need not attach documented threats or police reports, but if you have them please do so. If someone from the state discourages you from applying or attempts to prevent your application from consideration, get their name and let us know immediately.
Remember this: the State of Maryland is on the hook to explain to the Federal Courts and the People of Maryland why they continually deny a fundamental civil right. Your rights do not come from the government – they are yours and the government cannot remove them just because they wish your compliance. Every lawful person denied the exercise of this right is another violation of basic civil rights.
If you choose to apply, please share your story with us and let us know how you progress through the system. MSI intends to follow as many applications as possible and share general statistics with our partners. We are watching the state. We will not release your personal info to anyone without your express written consent. Just drop us an email and join the rest of us in demanding our rights be recognized, today.
Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.
1332 Cape St. Claire Rd #342
Annapolis, MD 21409