Article originally written on Richmond Times Dispatch
August 14th, 2012,
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli — hoping to be elected governor of Virginia in 2013 — has filed a brief in a Maryland gun case that is bound to hit the target with firearms enthusiasts in Virginia.
Cuccinelli's office last week filed a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of Virginia and 13 other states in support of a federal district court ruling that struck down a Maryland law. It grants handgun carry permits only to people who can prove a "good and substantial reason" that they face a specific or imminent threat to their personal safety beyond that of ordinary citizens.
Virginia does not require its residents to have a permit to openly carry firearms but requires permits for individuals to carry concealed handguns.
Maryland has appealed the decision in Woollard v. Gallagher, which is being heard in the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals.
Cuccinelli's brief argues that Maryland's "good and substantial reason" requirement to obtain a handgun carry permit for self-defense outside of the home "impinges on the constitutional rights of its citizens."
The brief also argues that Maryland cannot justify the broad restriction because it has "less-restrictive alternatives" available to address safety concerns, and argues that research shows "right-to-carry laws do not result in criminal violence."
Virginia gun-rights groups expressed support for Cuccinelli's intervention in the case.
"The attorney general is espousing what the vast majority of states (41) have in place — a legal way for all law-abiding citizens to bear arms with minimal or no government interference," said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.