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For those of you who may not be aware, a U.S. District Court Judge Benson Legg has recently ruled that Maryland’s law prohibiting citizens from carrying a firearm without “good and substantial reason,”violates rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Judge Legg ruled that a citizen does not need “good and substantial reason” to exercise his or her constitutional rights; the fact that the right exists is all the reason needed. In case anyone is not familiar with the Second Amendment, it reads: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment does indeed apply to individual citizens (see District of Columbia v. Heller). The purpose of this law was, and is, to afford the individual citizens the means to take back control of the government, should the need arise. As everyone should know, the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, which no other law may supersede.

John F. Kennedy had this to say about the Second Amendment: “By calling attention to a well-regulated militia for the security of the Nation, and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fear of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the Second Amendment, will ever be a major danger to our Nation, the amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationship, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.”

The state of Maryland is currently trying to appeal Judge Legg’s ruling. The significance of the appellate court’s ruling cannot be over stated. If Judge Legg’s ruling is overturned, then in my opinion, we will have crossed over into a new era of U.S. history — one where your constitutional rights are not really rights after all, but merely privileges to be applied when the states see fit.

For example, you’d no longer have a right to freedom of speech. If a government official didn’t like something you were saying, they could have you arrested. And if you were arrested, you no longer have a right to due process. The fact that you were accused may be all the proof that is required to convict you. Why waste time on a trial?

Regardless on your stance on gun control, I urge each and every one of you to pay close attention to this historic event as it unfolds.

Richard Baylor, Great Mills