Maryland law still does not acknowledge any individual right of gun ownership, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s decisions in D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, which recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns and determined that it applies to states and not solely the federal government. It’s time for that to change — and if the legislature won’t act, the courts will have to.
Allen Etzler reports at the FNP:
Maryland is one of 10 states considered a “may issue” state, which means it requires a permit to carry a concealed gun, and granting that permit is at the discretion of local authorities. It’s a restrictive law that prevents most average citizens from being able to obtain a permit, said Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll).
“It’s an undue burden on people,” Hough said. “The vast majority of people that get this permit are armed security or private [investigators]. It’s very difficult for the average citizen to get one.”
Now Maryland Shall Issue, a gun rights organization, is challenging the state’s permit regime as inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s rulings in Heller and McDonald. My colleagues at the Cato Institute filed briefs in support of Second Amendment rights in both of those earlier cases.
I joined News Director Mark Kraham of western Maryland’s WDVM on “Issues and Insiders” to discuss gerrymandering and the Sixth District. You can watch on two video clips, from before and after the break.
I’m not in any mood to despair, as I explained to Bethesda magazine’s Dan Schere:
“I’m glad the suspense is over, because waiting is hard and not knowing what the options are is hard,” said Walter Olson, who lives in Frederick County who co-chaired the commission.
Olson, who is a fellow at the Washington-based Cato Institute think tank, said he thinks public opinion in Maryland is strong enough against gerrymandering that the state legislature will decide to follow the example of the redistricting commission.
“It is up to Annapolis, after being shamed by the whole country by how bad its gerrymander is, to change it,” he said.
Asked if he felt the commission’s effort had been in vain, Olson replied that none of the nine members felt so.
“Our process produced a map that did what the court said,” he said. “We had strong marching orders to behave like good citizens, just the opposite of how the state had behaved in the past.”
Olson added that he was encouraged by the turnout at the public hearings, particularly at the ones in Western Maryland, which featured residents who feel gerrymandering reform is overdue in the state.
“It’s hard to ask them to be patient, because they’ve been asked to be patient for a long time,” he said.
By way of clarification I should add that I didn’t hear from everyone who served on the commission, but all those I did hear from appeared glad of what we accomplished and agreed that our work had not been in vain.