Photo credit: Supreme Court building by Andrew Bardwell under Creative Commons CC BY 2.0, Marshall courtesy of alabamaag.gov, image composite by America’s 1stFreedom staff.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 18 on behalf of Alabama and 20 other states asking the high court to hear a challenge to an anti-Second Amendment law in Maryland.
“The overwhelming majority of states recognize that the Second Amendment allows law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms outside their homes for self-defense,” said Marshall in a press release. “However, a handful of states have decided that citizens’ rights to possess a handgun outside their residence should apply only to when they meet certain limited criteria. In this case, a Maryland citizen was denied the fundamental right to self-defense because he failed to convince a bureaucrat that he faced some special danger to his safety.”
In the brief, Marshall says the “courts of appeals are deeply divided and the states are in need of guidance from [the U.S. Supreme Court].” Furthermore, he argues “the Second Amendment’s guarantee is a fundamental right that extends beyond the home.”
Brian Kirk Malpasso and the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, plaintiffs in the case at hand, are challenging Maryland’s may-issue statute as an “unconstitutional burden on the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.”
Currently, Maryland is one of eight may-issue states in the nation. To obtain a concealed-carry permit in Maryland, a “good and substantial” reason must be provided. This determination is made by the Maryland State Police. Maryland also does not honor any concealed-carry permits from other states. Maryland Secretary of State Police William Pallozzi is named defendant in the case.
“Because of this requirement, Maryland residents must prove they are under some extraordinary imminent threat in order to be granted a permit. This effectively bans most citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights outside of their homes,” reported the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
“In 2008, the United States Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. By denying Maryland residents the right to bear arms by carrying a firearm, the state is clearly violating the Court’s holding in Heller.”
Alabama is joined on the amicus brief by Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. Alabama Solicitor General Edmund G. Lacour Jr. and Deputy Solicitor General A. Barrett Bowdre also joined Marshall on the brief.
The NRA also filed an amicus brief in support of the challenge, which concludes, “This Court should grant the petition to ensure that this Court’s clear and consistent Second Amendment teachings are faithfully applied by the lower federal courts in the context of carrying arms for self-defense in case of confrontation outside the home and to ensure that the constitutional rights of Maryland – and all American – citizens are protected.”
Maryland Shall Issue (MSI) applauded the NRA’s decision and said, “it is well past due time that the State of Maryland join each of its immediate neighbors and an overwhelming majority of the country in observing that the people have the natural and civil right to self-defense beyond their doorsteps. MSI will continue monitor this suit as it develops and offers its full support to the challenger and the NRA.”