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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.

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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