Maryland Shall Issue donates $10K to SAF
by Dave Workman
A grassroots gun rights organization in Maryland has donated a whopping $10,000 to the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) to support its legal battles, including a lawsuit filed in the Free State that challenges the discretionary authority of law enforcement to deny carry permits based on flimsy reasons.
Maryland Shall Issue (MSI) made the donation in August. In a message to its members, the organization noted, “We want to send a message that Maryland gunowners can unite behind them with one voice.”
Many individual members of the group have already joined SAF or made individual contributions, the group said. But this was the MSI’s effort to make an organizational donation.
The group recently held its annual elections. President Paul Dembowski retained his position, and Scott Dembowski is vice president. Dave Michailof replaced Peter Pagnell as treasurer, and MIS founder and former president Henry Heymering was elected to a position on the board of directors, as was Pagnell. Greg Marsh is secretary.
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb was moved by the size of the contribution. He told Gun Week that, while it was too late to amend the actual lawsuit, he was making MIS an “honorary” plaintiff in the case.
That lawsuit involves Baltimore County resident Raymond Woollard, who was originally issued a carry permit after a man broke into his home during a family gathering in 2002. The permit was renewed in 2005, not long after the home invader was released from prison. He now lives about three miles from the Woollard residence.
However, when Woollard applied for a renewal in 2009, he was denied on the grounds that he could not demonstrate “a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.” After the lawsuit was filed, Gottlieb noted in a press release that laws which “empower bureaucrats to deny the exercise of a fundamental civil right because they cannot show good cause to exercise that right can’t possibly stand up under constitutional scrutiny.”
SAF and Woollard are represented in that lawsuit by attorneys Alan Gura of Virginia and Cary J. Hansel of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake of Greenbelt, MD. Gura recently won SAF’s lawsuit against the City of Chicago’s handgun ban, which the Supreme Court used in a 5-4 ruling to incorporate the Second Amendment to the states through the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.
Maryland is one of a handful of states that still allow law enforcement the discretion to turn down carry permit applications for any number of reasons. In states with so-called “shall-issue” statutes, authorities are compelled to issue permits or carry licenses to any citizen who meets the qualifying criteria. There is no requirement to show a “need” under such statutes.
Named as defendants in the SAF/Woollard lawsuit are Terrence B. Sheridan as the Secretary and Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, and three members of the Maryland Handgun Permit Review Board, Denis Gallagher, Seymour Goldstein and Charles M. Thomas, Jr.
“We are grateful and humbled by the Maryland Shall Issue contribution,” Gottlieb commented. “This single donation will greatly support our on-going legal battles to restore lost gun rights, one lawsuit at a time.”
He promised to “get the most legal bang for every buck.”
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