Patch readers across the region spoke out, to the tune of more more than 340 comments, when it was reported Tuesday that a U.S. District Court judge declared Maryland's gun permitting process unconstitutional. The ruling will relax the handgun permitting process in Maryland.
"People believe the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to keep and bear arms. Actually, it protects their fundamental right to keep and bear arms," Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild told Patch. "Our forefathers understood that arms provide citizens with the means to secure their lives, their liberty, and their property."
On Monday, Judge Benson Everett Legg ruled that the requirement to show "good or substantial reason to wear, carry or transport a handgun" is unconstitutional.
Legg's ruling, which goes into effect on Aug. 7, addresses the part of Maryland state law requiring that those seeking a permit to carry a gun must have "a good or substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger."
Westminster Police Chief Jeffrey Spaulding, with more than 35 years experience as a police officer, said he doesn't expect the ruling to change police procedures in any dramatic way.
"The difference is that a citizen would not have to demonstrate a 'good or substantial reason' to obtain a permit," Spaulding said. "In essence, anyone not disqualified from possessing a firearm, such as convicted felons or those diagnosed as mentally ill, would potentially be eligible to obtain a permit."
But Spaulding did say that more guns on the street can equal more danger on the street.
"It would be expected that more handguns will be encountered in the field, always a potentially dangerous situation for a police officer," Spaulding said. "While many will be technically qualified to obtain a handgun permit, not everyone who is 'qualified' will have the temperament and technical competence to carry and store a handgun in a safe manner."
Rothschild said that, "In reality, the Second Amendment is a restriction against government." He said he applauds Legg for defending the Second Amendment Constitutional rights of citizens.