Buckeye Firearms Foundation Inc. Files Amicus Brief in Woollard Case

On August 6, 2012, Buckeye Firearms Foundation Inc., a 501(C)(3) Foundation supporting all legal uses of firearms, filed an Amicus Brief in a Maryland case that may well end up being the next U.S. Supreme Court case on gun rights.

The case is Woollard et al v. Gallagher et al. Woollard is the gun owners' “side” of the case and they are represented by Alan Gura. The District Court ruled Maryland’s “may issue” licensing system unconstitutional. For more information on the history and the details of the case, visit Maryland Shall Issue.

This case is important for two main reasons. First, it seeks to extend the Second Amendment’s protections outside the home. Second, it should finally eliminate “may issue” licensing and require that all states have “shall issue” licensing.

The underlying case centers around the history and text of the Second Amendment and Maryland law. As is traditional for an Amicus Brief, some of the briefs duplicate and support the arguments the parties are making, and other briefs argue issues that are outside those arguments, providing additional information and reasons to rule in favor of the “good guys.”

Buckeye Firearm Foundation’s brief takes a narrow, focused approach. The core right that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in Heller was the right to own a gun FOR SELF-DEFENSE. The right to own a gun is not an abstract right to possess a tool. Rather, the possession of the tool is needed to exercise the core right: self-defense.

Courts have already, and always, recognized that the right to self-defense exists outside the home. Given that the core right clearly exists outside the home, the right to possess the tool needed to exercise the core right must also exist outside the home. To hold otherwise would be to hold that the right exists, but the means to exercise the right does not exist. This is an absurd result, but it is what Maryland is arguing in favor of.

So Buckeye’s brief first argues that because the right to self-defense has always existed outside the home, and all courts have ruled as such, there is no choice but to rule that the right to possess the tool needed for self-defense exists outside the home.

The next argument the brief covers is “may issue” license systems, where government officials exercise unlimited discretion over who can, and can’t, exercise the right. It is our position that Heller clearly requires that all licensing systems must be “shall-issue” and the court is bound by this precedent.

You can read a copy of the brief here.

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Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.