21 state attorneys general urge Supreme Court to block Maryland gun law

Published: Dec. 18, 2019 at 10:32 AM EST
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West Virginia's attorney general has joined a coalition of 21 state attorneys general asking the Supreme Court to strike down a Maryland gun law.

The group filed

that they say supports the fundamental right granted by the Second Amendment for citizens to keep and bear arms.

“We must protect the right to self-defense both inside and outside of one’s home,” West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey said. “The Second Amendment does not discriminate between the two. We urge the court to stand firm in protecting the right to bear arms as a fundamental right and one that extends beyond the home.”

Maryland law states that any resident who wants a concealed carry permit must provide a “good and substantial reason” to be granted one by local authorities.

State lawmakers say it's a restrictive law that would prevent most average people from being able to get a permit.

The coalition of other state officials is asking the Supreme Court "to clarify that state laws cannot prevent a law-abiding citizen from carrying a firearm outside of his or her home."

Attorney General Morrisey argues that the Maryland law "reduces that fundamental right to a privilege – one the state grants only to the rare citizen who can demonstrate to a bureaucrat’s satisfaction that he or she is in dire-enough straits to warrant carrying a handgun."

The brief argues that lawmakers in their 21 states also have interest in public safety, but won't "extinguish constitutional rights" for that goal.

West Virginia joined the Alabama-led brief with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.