“Three years and more than 400 legal challenges later, courts — so far — have held that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller was narrow and limited, and that the Second Amendment does not interfere with the people’s right to enact legislation protecting families and communities from gun violence”

August 14th, 2011

That’s how the Brady Center has described Heller and McDonald, as quoted in a WaPo piece by Bob Barnes, which focuses on two upcoming Second Amendment challenges in Maryland and Virginia.

In the Maryland case, Charles F. Williams Jr. is challenging his 2008 conviction in Prince George’s County of violating the state’s prohibition on wearing, carrying or transporting a firearm in public without a permit. Williams had his legally acquired gun in a bag as he traveled from his girlfriend’s home to his own.

Williams acknowledges that he had not applied for a permit. But his lawyer, Stephen Halbrook, says that shouldn’t matter: the Maryland law is so restrictive that it “basically says ordinary people can’t get one.” He argues in his petition that the law violates the Supreme Court’s “analyses and plain statements in Heller and McDonald that the right to bear arms exists outside the home.”

Peyton represents Sean Masciandaro, a reptile wrangler from Woodbridge, who was convicted of violating a ban on having a loaded firearm in a vehicle on national parkland. Masciandaro, who puts on educational demonstrations as owner of Raging Reptiles, said he was exhausted from traveling when he pulled off George Washington Memorial Parkway to take a nap at Daingerfield Island near Reagan National Airport.

A park police officer noticed him illegally parked, woke Masciandaro and, seeing a knife under his seat, asked if he had other weapons. Masciandaro said there was a loaded handgun in a bag in his trunk. (Masciandaro said the gun was for protection from people, not his animals, which travel separately.)

Masciandaro was convicted and paid a fine, but argues in his petition to the court: “If there is a Second Amendment right outside the home, it surely applies to law-abiding citizens carrying handguns for self-defense while traveling on public highways.”

I know the GW Parkway very well. I was sure to *never* carry on that highway. Even though it is geographically in Virginia, where I was legally able to carry, it is considered federal property. I previously blogged about the 4th Circuit Opinion in Masciandaro, where Judge Wilkinson did a lame job protecting the Second Amendment, a case he is not too fond of, and compares it to abortion.

He is appealing a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, where Masciandaro had the misfortune of pleading his case before a panel that included Judge J. Harvey Wilkinson III. Wilkinson is a conservative stalwart, but has criticized the Heller decision as an example of judicial activism.

He was unequivocal that any expansion of the right in Heller would have to come from the Supreme Court.

“This is serious business,” Wilkinson wrote. “We do not wish to be even minutely responsible for some unspeakably tragic act of mayhem because in the peace of our judicial chambers we miscalculated as to Second Amendment rights.”

I was recently asked to serve as a reviewer for a forthcoming law school textbook on the right to keep and bear arms. An entire textbook on RKBA. Amazing. Just 20 years ago the Second Amendment was an embarrassment. Today, it is a legitimate topic of study. Simply amazing. I didn’t touch a gun till I was 20. Even more amazing.