Sunday, August 15, 2010

Washington Post Covers Gura's Maryland Case

In a surprisingly sympathetic article, the Washington Post examined the background of Raymond Woollard's case against the State of Maryland over the denial of his concealed carry permit. The case, Woollard et al v. Sheridan et al, challenges the requirement of the State of Maryland that a person must show "apprehended danger" before being issued a concealed carry permit.

I examined the case back in July here. Mr. Woollard is joined in the case by the Second Amendment Foundation. Alan Gura is joined by Maryland attorney Cary Hansel as the attorneys of record. The case is being brought on both Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. One of the key arguments in the complaint is that "Individuals cannot be required to prove their “good and substantial reason” for the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms."

The Washington Post article describes how Mr. Woollard was the victim of a home invasion on Christmas Eve 2002 and how long he had to wait for police assistance. Mr. Woollard has consistently said it took police 2 1/2 hours to arrive. The Baltimore County police dispute this but did acknowledge it was over an hour. They blamed the rural location, holiday staffing, and bad weather for the slow response time.

Woollard was initially granted a concealed carry permit after this incident which was renewed again in 2005. The intruder turns out to have been his son-in-law who, as the article notes, had "a history of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence." They do not say whether the intruder is still married to Mr. Woollard's daughter but do acknowledge that he had served time for violating his probation after the 2002 home invasion. Mr. Woollard said he had not previously publicly identified the intruder as he wanted to protect his daughter.

With regard to the need for concealed carry and response time of the police, Mr. Woollard notes:
"It's up to me. Do you have to show a reason to have a driver's license?" Woollard said. Under current law, the only people likely to carry guns are criminals who do not follow the law anyway, Woollard said. "And the police, as good as they are, show up after the fact."
When asked for comment on the case, the Maryland State Police declined as it was an active case. However, the gun control group CeaseFire Maryland blew off the challenge to Maryland's concealed carry law saying:
"Good luck to him," spokesman Casey Anderson said. "I would have a hard time imagining that the Supreme Court is going to say you have a constitutional right to hide a firearm on your person."
I seem to remember that Mayors Fenty and Daley made similar statements about constitutional rights and the Second Amendment before losing in Heller and McDonald cases respectively. I recommend reading the whole article to get more of the human details of this case.

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