Court Upholds Md. Handgun Permit Law

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Court Upholds Md. Handgun Permit Law

Maryland's law requiring handgun permit applicants to demonstrate a “good and substantial reason” for carrying a weapon outside their own home or business is constitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a judge's ruling that the law violated the Second Amendment.

U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg said in his March 2012 ruling that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home, and that the right of self-defense was impermissibly burdened by Maryland's law. The appeals court said Legg's “trailblazing pronouncement” was wrong.

“The state has clearly demonstrated that the good-and-substantial reason requirement advances the objectives of protecting public safety and preventing crime because it reduces the number of handguns carried in public,” Judge Robert King wrote for the appeals court.

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler lauded the decision.

“Today's ruling reaffirms the considered view of the General Assembly that carrying handguns in public without a good and substantial reason poses unique safety risks that the state may address through sensible laws,” Gansler said in a statement.

Alan Gura, lawyer for the Baltimore County resident who challenged the law, said he will either ask the full appeals court to review the ruling or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It's not the end of the case by any means,” Gura said in a telephone interview. “My client would have preferred a different opinion and wants to push forward. It's disappointing that the Second Amendment was viewed with such disfavor.”

Vincent DeMarco, the national coordinator of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, said the ruling will bolster efforts by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to reduce gun violence through a sweeping gun-control measure this year.

“This is a great decision in affirming Maryland's authority to protect our citizens from people who shouldn't be carrying guns in public,” said DeMarco, who has been lobbying hard for O'Malley's gun-control measure.

Earlier in the day, DeMarco joined Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and law enforcement officials at a news conference in Annapolis to show support for the measure, which would ban assault weapons, limit magazine rounds and create a new licensing requirement for handgun buyers. The measure has passed the state Senate. It awaits action in the House of Delegates.

The state's handgun permit law was challenged by Raymond Woollard, who obtained a permit after a Christmas Eve 2002 home invasion but was denied renewal in 2009. The law does not recognize a vague threat or general fear as an adequate reason for obtaining a permit, and the Maryland State Police review board that handles applications said Woollard failed to demonstrate any ongoing danger seven years after the home invasion.

Judges Albert Diaz and Andre Davis joined in the appeals court's decision.

Trotz: Penguins had a 'heightened sense of desperation' in Game 2

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Trotz: Penguins had a 'heightened sense of desperation' in Game 2

You hear it all the time when it comes to the playoffs. When teams play those first two games on the road, the goal is also to walk away with at least a split. The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to earn that split in Washington by way of a 2-1 win in Game 2 on Saturday.

"We wanted to go back at least with one," Sidney Crosby said. "We played well the last couple games so I think we deserved at least to get a split."

"It's huge, I think," Kris Letang said. "It's a big momentum game that we're going home with."

For the Penguins, it was mission accomplished. Now the pressure falls on the Caps to do the same thing in Pittsburgh: take at least one of the two road games. To do so, they will have to have a much better start to Game 3 than they showed Saturday.

RELATED: NHL ANNOUNCES SUNDAY HEARING FOR BROOKS ORPIK HIT ON OLLI MAATTA

Through two periods the Caps were out-shot 28-10. Somehow, the deficit was only 1-0 and the Caps were able to tie it with a strong third period, but the game could have gone much differently if the team had battled as hard for the first 40 minutes as it did in the final 20.

"We have to be better, plain and simple," head coach Barry Trotz said.

While he was not satisfied with the play of his team in the first two periods, he was also not surprised by how strong Pittsburgh looked at the start.

"What you see in the playoffs a lot of times is you go into a sereies and a team wins Game 1, there's a sense of heightened desperation on a team that lost that game and I sense that they had a heightened sense of desperation."

Now the Caps will need to feel that desperation heading into Pittsburgh. By losing Game 2, Washington has yielded home-ice advantage. Both teams need three more wins, but three of the remaining fives games of the series will be in Pittsburgh. If the Caps don't feel that "heigthened desperation" in Games 3 and 4, they could find themselves down 3-1 in the series when play returns to Washington on Saturday.

Where do the Caps need to improve? Well, that's not too hard to figure out.

Said Karl Alzner, "You need leave more of a mark early in the game."

MORE CAPITALS: WILLIAMS: 'WE WERE GETTING EMBARRASSED OUT THERE'

Wilson Ramos returns to Nationals, Severino sent to minors

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Wilson Ramos returns to Nationals, Severino sent to minors

Catcher Wilson Ramos has returned to the Nationals after spending five days on MLB's bereavement list due to the death of his grandfather Jesus Campos. Catcher Pedro Severino was sent back to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Ramos.

Ramos, 28, returns to the Nats with a .316 average, two homers and eight RBI in 15 games this season. He has the second-best average on the team this season behind second baseman Daniel Murphy.

Ramos left the Nationals on April 26 after hearing of his grandfather's death. The Nationals' lineup struggled initially with Ramos out, but has since recovered to score 11 runs in their first two games at the St. Louis Cardinals. Ramos is not in the lineup Sunday as the Nats aim for a sweep.

Jose Lobaton has been filling in most for Ramos and on Monday Gio Gonzalez is set to pitch. Lobaton has caught Gonzalez exclusively so far this season.

Ramos caught Gonzalez 11 times last season out of 30 total starts. The combo produced a 4.52 ERA in 61 2/3 innings. Gonzalez held a 3.39 mark in 114 innings with Lobaton.

Gio has worked mostly with Lobaton since the catcher was acquired by the Nats before the 2014 season, but has been very good with both catchers in his career. He holds a career 3.25 ERA and .241 BAA with Lobaton and a 3.42 ERA and .247 BAA with Ramos.

NL East: Marlins' Stanton hit scoreboard with HR at Brewers' stadium

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NL East: Marlins' Stanton hit scoreboard with HR at Brewers' stadium

Giancarlo Stanton blasted a 462-foot homer on Saturday at Miller Park, the second-longest home run any player has hit so far this season.

This particular shot bounced off the massive scoreboard in center field in Milwaukee. Stanton knew he had it as soon as it left the bat. 

According to MLB's StatCast, the ball left Stanton's bat at a speed of 116.8 miles per hour. The only homer hit this season with an exit velocity of 117 or higher was by Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies.

Check out Stanton's bomb: