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Md. Asks For Stay During Gun Permit Ruling Appeal

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland’s Attorney General asked a federal judge Wednesday to keep the state’s gun permit law in place while the state appeals his ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

In an order filed earlier this week, Judge Benson Everett Legg ruled that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not limited to the home and Maryland’s requirement that residents must show a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun is unconstitutional.

While the ruling is appealed, Maryland State Police, the agency that processes permit applications, will not make decisions on applications in which approval rests solely on that clause, spokesman Greg Shipley said. Of the 5,216 applications filed in 2011, about 251 were denied, including 179 that lacked a “good and substantial reason,” Shipley said.

A stay would allow a federal appeals court to resolve issues before permits are issued under circumstances lawmakers determined would “imperil public safety,” the Attorney General’s office argued. It would also allow lawmakers to consider legislation that could address constitutional concerns while providing more protection for public safety than completely abandoning the “good and substantial reason” requirement for permits.

The state, which has not yet filed an appeal, also asked Legg to clarify whether he intends to issue an injunction barring the state from denying permits based on that requirement.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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