Commissioner Rothschild: 'Second Amendment is a Restriction Against Government'

A Westminster police officer and Carroll County commissioner weigh in on this week's court ruling that expands access to gun permits.

Patch readers across the region Tuesday that a U.S. District Court judge declared Maryland's gun permitting process unconstitutional. The ruling will relax the handgun permitting process in Maryland.

"People believe the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to keep and bear arms. Actually, it protects their fundamental right to keep and bear arms," Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild told Patch.  "Our forefathers understood that arms provide citizens with the means to secure their lives, their liberty, and their property."

On Monday, Judge Benson Everett Legg ruled that the requirement to show "good or substantial reason to wear, carry or transport a handgun" is unconstitutional.

Legg's ruling, which goes into effect on Aug. 7, addresses the part of Maryland state law requiring that those seeking a permit to carry a gun must have "a good or substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger."

Westminster Police Chief Jeffrey Spaulding, with more than 35 years experience as a police officer, said he doesn't expect the ruling to change police procedures in any dramatic way.

"The difference is that a citizen would not have to demonstrate a 'good or substantial reason' to obtain a permit," Spaulding said.  "In essence, anyone not disqualified from possessing a firearm, such as convicted felons or those diagnosed as mentally ill, would potentially be eligible to obtain a permit."

But Spaulding did say that more guns on the street can equal more danger on the street.

"It would be expected that more handguns will be encountered in the field, always a potentially dangerous situation for a police officer," Spaulding said.  "While many will be technically qualified to obtain a handgun permit, not everyone who is 'qualified' will have the temperament and technical competence to carry and store a handgun in a safe manner."

Rothschild said that, "In reality, the Second Amendment is a restriction against government." He said he applauds Legg for defending the Second Amendment Constitutional rights of citizens.

Brandon White July 28, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Kathy did you have to take training to learn to keep poison and medicine out of reach of your small children when they were growing up? Anyhow in regards to Maryland law one must watch a safety training video, take a hunters safety class or beginning firearms course before they can even "purchase" a handgun in Maryland. I did not say safety education is not necessary, I said it would does not prevent bad decisions from irresponsible people same as drivers ed does not. I believe that more people by far own drivers licences than CCWs and daily are sharing roadways with large and small vehicles in many congested and fast moving areas. The difference is they are "operating" those vehicles the entire time they are in them and have a far greater chance of "operator error" affecting themselves and others unintentionally. Compare that with a CCW owner who's sole intention is to never have to operate their weapon except for practice and leisure shooting, but to have it as a last resort. I don't believe you can impose mandatory training limits without it being abused by the Maryland government who has proven time and time again it is against their citizens exercising their rights to protect themselves. There are no training requirements for the 75 year old jeweler who has a permit because he handles cash, or the Circuit court Judge, or the politically connected cousin of an alderman. How are they any more competent than the regular citizens the law will allow now?
Buck Harmon July 28, 2012 at 08:13 PM
The government can not force citizens to purchase anything that they can not afford or do not want to purchase...education and healthcare included. The administrative cost alone would burden tax payers related to firearm education. The right to own guns can not be manipulated by government programs legally, and the education requirement would do just that. As a free and sovereign citizen I don't want a failed government that struggles to keep it's own head above water dictating anything about how I choose to live my life to me. The governments track record is one of the worst in history at this time...
Buck Harmon July 28, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Now, more than ever citizens must remain heavily armed to keep the threat of government in check....it's a civic duty.
Buck Harmon July 28, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Kathy, There are thousands of incidents where motor vehicles have crashed into buildings causing multiple injuries and loss of life...not to mention many more vehicle to vehicle collisions. It happens regularly in your own neighborhood. I was at a flea market at the flea market at Westminster High School several weeks ago and witnessed a drunk try to pas on a double yellow line crash head on into an elderly couple heading home from the market...killed him instantly, not sure how she made out but the driver education seemed to fail miserably in this case....The point..more rules and laws will never stop bad behavior or accidents from happening... they only erode personal freedoms, and that is a very bad thing.
WestMonster July 28, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Buck what you're missing is that your rights are reach a limit when they infringe on the rights of others. Your right to carry a gun is limited by its impact on my safety. Thatis why training should be required. Just like drivers ed. Are saying the govt should let everyone drive when they feel like they are ready? Mr. Martin, guns aren't the only method of self defense. I would like to think we are a little more sophisticated than in wild west times.
Buck Harmon July 28, 2012 at 08:55 PM
My right to carry is natural and in no way would be a threat to you unless you tried to do harm to me ...it's a defensive right.. Are we required to have training before taking mind altering prescribed medications that might cause us to drive or behave dangerously?
Brandon White July 28, 2012 at 09:05 PM
"Mr. Martin, guns aren't the only method of self defense. I would like to think we are a little more sophisticated than in wild west times." Are we really? There are more criminals now by percentage, not population. More murders, more robberies, assaults, burglaries. Tasers, mace, batons are outlawed in many counties, and cities throughout the Sate of Maryland. What method do you presume to use, your cell phone, a whistle....tell that to several people in Baltimore that got robbed and killed. You have greater odds getting hit by a bus than you have being the innocent bystander shot by a CCW citizen. Your safety or lack of it should not infringe on others to be able to protect themselves. Maybe you are 30, 6'2" in great shape and practice Krav Maga but it won't matter if someone starts shooting at you and all you can do is hide under a table and pray. Now you impact others safety.
J227 July 29, 2012 at 04:07 AM
"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security." - Benjamin Franklin “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” - Sigmund Freud "When the people fear their government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." – Thomas Jefferson
Edmund Klebe July 29, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Why; in your own terms is, it "probably well justified" ?
Steve July 29, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I see somebody has been reading their Eddie the Eagle comic book!
Rob Moore July 29, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Try looking up what "well regulated" meant in the eighteenth century. Here is a hint, it didn't mean "controlled by government restrictions".
Kathy July 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Car insurance. Old age insurance (SSI and Medicaid) . The government can force people to purchase things if they are necessary for the common good of society.
Kathy July 29, 2012 at 10:37 PM
There are millions of incidents where motor vehicles have caused injuries--but very few are deliberate. Education will not prevent drunk driving, just like it will not prevent a crazy person from shooting in a movie theatre. The truth is NO law will prevent a person from committing a crime if they really want to commit a crime. So what do we do-- do away with all laws? Drug use is astronomically high--do we decriminalize drugs? Laws ALWAYS only stop law abiding citizens from committing crimes. I am not saying that people shouldn't own guns--my dad owns a gun. But he knows how to use it, and I never even saw it when I was a child. It all boils down to fear--you are somehow afraid that the government is going to impose some kind of totalitarian state on us and it is only your gun ownership that will prevent this. Maybe I haven't been watching the same movies as you have, but I don;t have that fear.
John Culleton July 30, 2012 at 07:19 PM
In re requiring citizens to receive training before exercising their 1st amendment rights: I have 16 plus years of education including a four year degree in English and a minor in theology (1st amendment protects freedom of religion as well as speech) as well as course work in political science.When I went to elementary school civics was a required subject. I have worked in government at the federal, state and local levels. I don't agree that 1st amendment rights require specific training but if they do then I have a reasonable amount of training. How about you?
John Culleton July 30, 2012 at 07:24 PM
People don't "carry" .45s any more. 9 millimeter is the usual caliber. And a .45 is pretty inaccurate, as I recall from my days on the firing range at Fort Ord. In a dark theater with tear gas in the air the guy with the .45 would more likely hit an innocent bystander.
George T July 30, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I have a couple .45's that would beg to differ with your assessment. :-)
John Culleton July 30, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The next time I am attacked by a criminal will be the first time. And I have been around for close to 80 years. So I will take my chances and go to the grocery store without a gun on me.
Buck Harmon July 30, 2012 at 07:52 PM
You don't have to participate in any of those things mentioned if you choose to opt out. Common good would come with less government, not more.
Buck Harmon July 30, 2012 at 07:56 PM
As rights are eroded by too many bad or non laws our country becomes "totalitarian", slowly but surely. It is happening, to deny it would be apathetic. Apathy breeds followers of bad law or sheeple if you will.
Buck Harmon July 30, 2012 at 07:59 PM
You are as free to make that choice as I am to carry. perfect balance..if I see an elderly person being assaulted I am prepared to assist with confidence.
George T July 30, 2012 at 08:18 PM
There is a fine line between the power to require proper training, etc. and the power to tax. While most reasonable people would agree that firearm training is desirable, regardless of whether such training is forced by the government, most people would also not prefer to be taxed excessively for what is a fundamental right. Government has that funny little tool in its bag of tricks - the ability to tax something to the point of inflicting pain, which is why we spent nearly $400 to register two motor vehicles, for example. Thank goodness we don't smoke cigarettes (though we have to buy lots of gasoline).
Buck Harmon July 30, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Well said George T...
Buck Harmon July 30, 2012 at 08:37 PM
"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of." --James Madison, Federalist No. 46, 1788
Buck Harmon July 30, 2012 at 08:40 PM
"[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, - who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia." --George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
George T July 30, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Which is why the federal government pounds the crappola out of subordinate governments (states) rights at every, single opportunity.
John Culleton July 31, 2012 at 04:17 PM
You can join the militia (National Guard or Reserves) attend drills regularly, and frustrate the British Parliament of centuries ago. And I agree, the governor of Pennsylvania should be replaced.
George T July 31, 2012 at 04:56 PM
John, you are a fine writer, but your logic with the Constitution is right up there with David Iacono's. You've written about how the 2nd Amendment should protect only antiquated implements, but would you suggest similar interpretation for the 1st Amendment? Yes, I know - it's all about your "body count", and how you choose to assess the consequences of gun ownership - which only accounts for senseless deaths, but not for lives saved. It's also been written that the pen is mightier than the sword. So, by your reasoning, any means of publishing that is more sophisticated than a typewriter should not be protected speech. Laugh it off, but governments that were trying to hold onto power during the Arab Spring used similar logic to quell the popular uprising that spread like wildfire through social media - by restricting it. Free speech can be considered just as dangerous as arms, in some cases. So, what say you, John - can you be consistent in applying Constitutional protections for the sake of freedom?
TeeBarb August 01, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Rights are unalienable. You can choose to exercise yours OR NOT; you cannot choose to give mine away with yours or take them away from anyone ELSE. Personal responsibility is what is missing in most of the discussions here. If you drive a car and kill someone or yourself YOU are personally responsible. If you choose to carry a concealed weapon (your right, by the way) YOU are responsible. For everything about that choice. If you choose to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater (also your right, by the way despite laws to the contrary the kicker is:) YOU ARE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for making that choice. Our society shirks personal responsibility at almost every turn. What do you want to bet that the defense team for the shooter in Aurora will start to build a case of EXCUSES? Or that he was insane when he did it? That still doesn't obviate his actions and his responsibility for them. If there was justice he'd have a fair, speedy trial and be executed immediately afterwards. IS there any doubt in anyone's mind that he "did it"? You know what? Sometimes it's just your fault because you are stupid, or ignorant or made a tragically bad decision. [And, hey, that also implies to me, BTW.] Don't' make the mistake of supplanting important liberties or rights for your good ideas or good intentions. Be responsible for your own actions and let's start having the moral fortitude to hold others responsible for theirs.
Buck Harmon August 01, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Well said TeeBarb..
WestMonster August 01, 2012 at 04:46 PM
There's an important distinction that needs to be brought into this conversation: the difference between "inalienable", "natural", and "legal" rights. These terms are being thrown around in this discussion, and in some cases are not being used correctly. The right provided by the second amendment is a legal right, since it would not exist without being enumerated in that legal document. The Declaration of Independence speaks to three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. By terming them "inalienable" Jefferson was communicating that no government should endeavor to violate them. These are similar to natural rights in that they don't need to be guaranteed by law. Love your point about personal responsibility though, TeeBarb!


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