No, “may issue” is not dead, and it probably will not even be going away in Maryland*, but this recent summary judgment for Woollard v. Sheridan is just chock-a-block full of interesting and all-too useful quotes… Like this one:
For all of these reasons, the Court finds that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home. The signposts left by recent Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit case law all point to the conclusion that Woollard‘s “claim to self-defense—asserted by him as a law-abiding citizen . . . —does implicate the Second Amendment, albeit subject to lawful limitations.”
A law that burdens the exercise of an enumerated constitutional right by simply making that right more difficult to exercise cannot be considered “reasonably adapted” to a government interest, no matter how substantial that interest may be. Maryland‘s goal of “minimizing the proliferation of handguns among those who do not have a demonstrated need for them,” id. at 40, is not a permissible method of preventing crime or ensuring public safety; it burdens the right too broadly. Those who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment surely knew that the right they were enshrining carried a risk of misuse, and states have considerable latitude to channel the exercise of the right in ways that will minimize that risk. States may not, however, seek to reduce the danger by means of widespread curtailment of the right itself. “[E]ven the most legitimate goal may not be advanced in a constitutionally impermissible manner.” Carey v. Brown, 447 U.S. 455, 464–65 (1980).
At bottom, this case rests on a simple proposition: If the Government wishes to burden a right guaranteed by the Constitution, it may do so provided that it can show a satisfactory justification and a sufficiently adapted method. The showing, however, is always the Government‘s to make. A citizen may not be required to offer a “good and substantial reason” why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right‘s existence is all the reason he needs.
The first thought that came to mind when I read the second bolded segment was this quote from Mr. John Green, who lost his daughter Christina in the shooting in Tucson shortly before saying it:
It shouldn’t happen in this country or anywhere else. but, you know, it’s a free society, we’re going to be subject to people like this, so I prefer this to the alternative.
Freedom is not free. A lot of people understandably use this sentiment to support the actions of our service members abroad, with the accurate observation that if people did not fight – and die – for freedom, we would lose it in very short order. However, there is another side to that coin as well: freedom carries with it the risk of misuse. As with any tool, if you allow people freedom, someone will find some way to misuse it, and, unfortunately, the misuse of our individual rights to own property, engage in commerce, and defend ourselves from those who would do us harm can yield a great number of innocent victims dead in the gutter.
But it is not like our Founding Fathers were not aware of the concept. They knew that freedoms could be misused (have you seen newspapers of the time?), but they also knew that those freedoms were essential to the American culture they were building.
Criminals suck and deserve to be punished, but their mere existence does not give the state the ability to punish everyone through arbitrary, broad, and unjust attempts at “gun control”.
Regardless of the limited scope of our victory here, it serves as a fairly clear indication that we are, in fact, winning, and the anti-rights cultists of America are engaged in little more than a desperate holding action, bitterly clinging to what territory we allow them to have. Here is to the legal prowess of Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation; despite having the business acumen of a lobotomized telemarketer, they get the job done when it comes to defending our rights.
(* – Consider this quote from the summary judgment:
The Maryland statute‘s failure lies in the overly broad means by which it seeks to advance this undoubtedly legitimate end. The requirement that a permit applicant demonstrate “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun does not, for example, advance the interests of public safety by ensuring that guns are kept out of the hands of those adjudged most likely to misuse them, such as criminals or the mentally ill. It does not ban handguns from places where the possibility of mayhem is most acute, such as schools, churches, government buildings, protest gatherings, or establishments that serve alcohol. It does not attempt to reduce accidents, as would a requirement that all permit applicants complete a safety course. It does not even, as some other States‘ laws do, limit the carrying of handguns to persons deemed “suitable” by denying a permit to anyone “whose conduct indicates that he or she is potentially a danger to the public if entrusted with a handgun”.
Those looking to minimize the number of lawfully-carried firearms in public will simply change the focus of “may issue” from “good and substantial reasons” to “suitable in the eyes of the licenser”; for example, consider the licensing scheme in Massachusetts where licenses are denied (and revoked) simply because the sheriff responsible for doing so does not like you, or just does not want to give you one. You may have all the pressing need in the world for a license to carry, but if the sheriff does not think you are “suitable”, you are gos-se out of luck.
If I had to make a wild-assed guess, I would imagine that “suitability” requirement was next on Gura’s hitlist.)