CRPAF and NRA Amicus Briefs Filed in Maryland Right to Carry Case

The California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation (CRPAF) and the National Rifle Association (NRA) have each weighed into the important Second Amendment case of Woollard v. Gallagher. CRPAF and the NRA each filed amicus briefs with the federal court of appeals in Maryland.

The Woollard case involves a Second Amendment challenge to the state of Maryland’s statutory requirement that an applicant show a “good and substantial reason” as a precondition for getting a license to carry a handgun in public. In practice, this requirement results in most applicants being denied a license, and being deprived of their Second Amendment right to carry a firearm outside of the home for self-defense.

Bucking the trend of other trial court judges ruling in similar cases brought challenging licensing schemes in other states, a federal district court judge in Maryland ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the Woollard case, finding the “good and substantial reason” standard to be an unconstitutional pre-condition on the right to carry.

Maryland then appealed the case to the Fourth Circuit. The case is scheduled for expedited oral argument on October 23, 2012.

CRPAF’s amicus brief  is a response to Maryland’s argument that there is no historically recognized right to carry arms publicly. In the brief, CRPAF’s attorneys explain the scope of the right to bear arms as understood from our English ancestors to the Framing Era, and through the Reconstruction Era and the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. The CRPAF brief makes a compelling case for the longstanding recognition of the right to bear arms in our nation’s tradition, and, in doing so, attacks one of the Maryland government’s most important arguments.

The NRA’s amicus brief likewise makes a compelling case as to why Maryland’s eligibility standard for a license to carry is unconstitutional.  It points out the exclusive nature of the standard, which precludes all but a few individuals from qualifying for a license to carry a firearm in public. The brief explains how such a requirement cannot survive judicial scrutiny under any standard of review, and convincingly uses the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller decision as support.

The bottom line, both briefs explain, is that there is a constitutional right to carry a handgun publicly for self-defense, and the government cannot force citizens to prove they are worthy to exercise that right. Yet that is exactly what Maryland’s challenged standard does.

The CRPAF is currently litigating, and the NRA is supporting, a California case bringing a similar Second Amendment challenge to restrictions on licenses to carry firearms in public against the Sheriff of San Diego County, California. The case is Peruta v. San Diego County. As with the Maryland licensing requirement, San Diego County’s policy is to require carry license applicants to show a “special need” in order to qualify for issuance of one. A decision in Woollard could have an impact on the Peruta case. Peruta is currently awaiting oral argument before the Ninth Circuit.

Support the NRA/ CRPAF Legal Action Project

Seventeen years ago the NRA and CRPA joined forces to fight local gun bans being written and pushed in California by the gun ban lobby. Their coordinated efforts became the NRA/CRPA “Local Ordinance Project” (LOP) – a statewide campaign to fight ill-conceived local efforts at gun control and educate politicians about available programs that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The NRA/CRPA LOP has had tremendous success in beating back most of these anti-self-defense proposals.

In addition to fighting local gun bans, for decades the NRA has been litigating dozens of cases in California courts to promote the right to self-defense and the Second Amendment. In the post Heller and McDonald legal environment, NRA and CRPA Foundation have formed the NRA/CRPA Foundation Legal Action Project (LAP), a joint venture to pro-actively strike down ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances and advance the rights of firearms owners, specifically in California. Sometimes, success is more likely when LAP’s litigation efforts are kept low profile, so the details of every lawsuit are not always released. To see a partial list of the LAP’s recent accomplishments, or to contribute to the NRA or to the NRA/CRPAF LAP and support this and similar Second Amendment cases, visit and All donations made to the CRPA Foundation will directly support litigation efforts to advance the rights of California gun owners.

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