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Opinion

Examiner Local Editorial: An irrational anti-gun mentality

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Opinion,Local Editorial

When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's urgent plea to bring in the National Guard to help relief efforts and prevent looting following Hurricane Sandy, the mayor told reporters: "We don't need it. The NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns."

Bloomberg's reaction was irrational, given that thousands of National Guard troops had already rescued more than 3,000 people and 200 pets from floodwaters in neighboring New Jersey. But his was an all too typical knee-jerk reaction.

The same anti-gun mentality was on display at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond in late October. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler's office was appealing a lower court ruling that overturned a key provision of Maryland's restrictive gun law.

According to Woollard v. Sheridan -- filed by Alexandria lawyer Alan Gura, who had successfully argued District of Columbia v. Heller before the U.S. Supreme Court -- and Greenbelt attorney Cary Hansel, representing the Second Amendment Foundation, Navy veteran Raymond Woollard was celebrating Christmas Eve at home in 2002 when his estranged son-in-law broke in, terrorized the family and demanded Woollard's car keys before wresting a shotgun away from him during a scuffle. Woollard's son finally subdued the intruder with another gun and held him at bay for two and a half hours until police arrived.

When Woollard tried to renew his concealed carry handgun permit for a second time in 2009, his application was denied because he could not show "a good or substantial reason" for carrying a firearm outside his home or demonstrate what the state deemed was a continuing threat. Since the Heller case had opened the door for such challenges, he sued.

On March 5, 2012, U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg ruled in Woollard's favor, noting that his Second Amendment right "is all the reason he needs." Judge Legg also dismissed Maryland's claim that the state has a right to prohibit guns in public places in order to reduce gun violence, writing that "self-defense has to take place wherever [a] person happens to be." A three-judge panel will decide within the next few months if he was right.

However, we already know that Maryland's prediction of increased gun violence if Judge Legg's ruling is upheld is wrong. Homicides in D.C. have steadily decreased in each of the three years following Heller. Somebody should tell Gansler -- and Bloomberg.

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