Maryland’s requirement of a “good and substantial reason” to obtain a handgun permit is back in place — at least for now — pending an appeal hearing in late October.
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay on Aug. 1 on a ruling by U.S. District Judge Everett Legg in July that found Maryland’s standard to be unconstitutional.
The state prohibits people from carrying a handgun outside the home without a permit, and requires those seeking to obtain a permit to show a “good and substantial” reason for it.
Legg had granted a stay until Aug. 7 on his ruling, but Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to continue the stay on the order. Without the stay, the Maryland State Police would have been overwhelmed by applicants seeking gun permits, according to the Attorney General’s Office’s brief.
“Defendants will also suffer irreparable harm to their ability to protect public safety, an indisputably compelling government interest, in the absence of a stay,” according to the filing.
“The Maryland General Assembly enacted the good-and-substantial-reason requirement to help protect the people of Maryland from the scourge of handgun violence, and testimony in the record from Maryland law enforcement officers, along with other evidence, demonstrates the ongoing importance of that requirement in protecting public safety.”
In addition to issuing the stay on Legg’s ruling, the appellate court judges ordered the appeal be heard on an expedited schedule.
The state’s appeal will be heard by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 23. The appeal hearing is expected to last three days.
“In the meantime, the state will continue to follow and enforce this law as passed by the General Assembly,” said David Paulson, a spokesman for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.