Case information: Woollard v. Sheridan, No. 1:10-cv-02068-JFM (D. MD, Filed March 22, 2011)

At issue:  Challenging Maryland’s open carry law.  This lawsuit challenges part of Maryland law requiring a permit for the carrying of a handgun in public. Under state law, concealed carry permit applicants must show, among other things, that they have a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun, and law enforcement must find “that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.”  Plaintiffs claim that this discretionary provision violates the Second Amendment and the First Amendment as a prior restraint.

Law Center’s Brief:  Our brief, filed in support of Maryland’s current law, argues that substantive First Amendment jurisprudence and the doctrine of prior restraint have no place in Second Amendment law.

The court first found that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home, but extends beyond the “core” right recognized in District of Columbia v. Heller to the “good and substantial reason” requirement at issue.  Upon subjecting the statute to intermediate scrutiny review, the court held that the statute fails due to the “overly broad means by which it seeks to advance [the government’s] undoubtedly legitimate end” and, thus, is insufficiently tailored to pass constitutional muster under the Second Amendment.  The court further found that application of the prior restraint doctrine is inappropriate, given that such application remains uncharted territory in the context of the Second Amendment.

Read the full text of our amicus brief here.