In spite of Heller and its progeny holding that the right to keep and bear arms is a personal right, and one that may not lightly be infringed, there remains in certain east coast states, but especially in Maryland, a prosecutorial and judicial hostility to gun ownership and gun rights.  It borders on the paranoid, is unreasonable, unlawful and an affront to the Constitution.

In Maryland, for instance, a person cannot transport a loaded handgun in one’s own car for the purpose of going to the range for shooting. If a person drives through a school zone, they could be looking at a 5 or 10 year sentence.

Some of the judicial decisions are truly scary, but the statute is so broad that it almost mandates the criminalization of all firearms possession. The code section is § 4-203.

(a)(1) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a person may not:

(i) wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person;

(ii) wear, carry, or knowingly transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, in a vehicle traveling on a road or parking lot generally used by the public, highway, waterway, or airway of the State;

(iii) violate item (i) or (ii) of this paragraph while on public school property in the State; or

***

(2) There is a rebuttable presumption that a person who transports a handgun under paragraph (1)(ii) of this subsection transports the handgun knowingly.

 

In other words, your neighbor asks to see your Glock 19. You take your Glock Box and walk off your property, onto the sidewalk, and as you enter your neighbor’s property a cop drives by. You’re going to jail. Because it makes no difference that your neighbor asked you to transport your weapon for him, it just matters that you were transporting it on your person.

Maryland interprets this statute so as to bring transportation of a firearm outside the protection of the Second Amendment. This in spite of the McDonald v. City of Chicago case which effectively asserts that the right to self protection is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Second Amendment and enforceable against the states under § 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment. The mere transportation of a firearm should not be an offense, and it should certainly not net you 3 years in a state prison.

In Smith v. State the Maryland Special Court of Appeals, (the intermediate court of appeals in that state) held that the rebuttable presumption, under statute that prohibits knowingly transporting an illegal handgun, that the transportation of handgun is knowing was unconstitutional. Smith v. State, 2002, 805 A.2d 1108, 145 Md.App. 400. This makes sense because the state should have to prove every element of the offense. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals of Maryland, essentially that state’s supreme court, granted certiorari and reversed, 823 A.2d 664, 374 Md. 527, finding that there was no problem with the rebuttable presumption.  The opinion is not their finest work, and reflects such judicial hostility against the Second Amendment that you wonder whether they realize that when they took their oath of office to support and defend the constitution, if they understood that the Second Amendment was a part of the Constitution.

This is common in east coast jurisdictions where there is almost a rabid fear of anything that goes “bang.” It is precisely this kind of ridiculous jurisprudence (if you can call it that) that requires an originalist on the Supreme Court. While no one wants felons walking around with fully automatic Glock 18s, neither do we wish to be closeted in our house for the right to keep and bear arms. In fact, a right to “bear” arms necessarily includes the bearing of those arms outside the home.  That is inherent in the text of the Amendment.

Everyone who guards their rights to a fully effective Second Amendment must, as a matter of great importance, support the appointment of Judge Gorsuch, so that Second Amendment rights can be preserved for us and for our children.

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