UPDATED (4:16 p.m.)—A U.S. District Court judge has lifted a stay on a federal court ruling that declared Maryland's permitting process to wear and carry a gun unconstitutional.
The order, issued by Judge Benson Everett Legg, lifts a stay sought by the state as it appeals the decision made last year.
Legg's ruling, which goes into effect in 14 days, lifts the stay sought by the state after a federal court ruled that the law requiring 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."
David Paulson, a spokesman for Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, said the ruling "is still being reviewed and the state is considering its options."
Opponents called the called the state's permit requirement arbitrary and capricious.
Del. Michael Smigiel, a Cecil County Republican, praised the ruling.
"The state will now have to start following the Constitution," Smigiel said, adding that he believes the timing of the ruling in the wake of the shootings in Aurora, CO will cause some public discussion.
"I expect to see that some people, based on what happened in Aurora, will argue that this is not a good idea," Smigiel said. "Those individuals do not have a full understanding of the facts of what happened in Aurora."
Smigiel said he expects Gansler will appeal Legg's decision to the United States Supreme Court. The delegate said he believes the court will not take up the issue before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals hears the appeal on the lower court ruling.
The state will likely have to file a motion to for a new stay with the Fourth Circuit Court before going to the Supreme Court. Because Legg's order becomes effective in two weeks, that motion would likely be filed before the state police would have to begin considering applications without the a good or substantial reason" requirement.
The suit was filed in July 2010 after Robert Woollard was denied a permit to carry a gun. The federal court ultimately ruled the "good and substantial reason" requirement was unconstitutional and the Maryland State Police were ordered to process Woollard's application without applying that standard.
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