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.

Redskins get a draft pick in the fold

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Redskins get a draft pick in the fold

The Redskins have signed draft pick Steven Daniels, according to a report.

Daniels, an inside linebacker, was drafted in the seventh round (232nd overall) out of Boston College. The 5 foot 11, 243-pounder amassed 82 tackles, including 16 for a loss, and an interception as a senior last season.

The four-year deal for Daniels is worth $2.581 million, including a $77,296 signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.

Daniels is the first of Washington's seven picks to sign.

He’s expected to compete for a backup role on defense, contribute on special teams and bring some toughness to the unit, according to General Manager Scot McCloughan.

“Daniels [is] a football player,” McCloughan said this week. “Not pretty. Not going to run the fastest 40, but really tough. He has [special] teams value and brings the kind of culture I want to keep bringing in, especially late in the draft. He brings in a competitiveness and a toughness that he isn’t going to back down from anybody. You’re going to have to beat him out to get him out of here, and that’s what I want.”

Secretary of Navy weighs in on Reynolds' service, availability for Ravens

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Secretary of Navy weighs in on Reynolds' service, availability for Ravens

The Secretary of the Navy expressed confidence Thursday that sixth-round draft pick Keenan Reynolds will be able to play for the Ravens next season. Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Ray Mabus said there should be ways for Reynolds to fulfill his Navy obligations while pursuing his NFL career.

“If I was an NFL team I would want Keenan Reynolds in my locker room,” Mabus said on the show. “Keenan Reynolds is a great ambassador for not only the United States Navy but the United States military. I’m confident we can work something out so Keenan can do both, play and serve…I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he can do both.”

The Ravens were hopeful that Reynolds would be allowed to play, but said they would abide by whatever decision made by the Navy. Reynolds was a star quarterback at Navy, but will try to forge an NFL career as a wide receiver-punt returner. Reynolds is scheduled to participate in this weekend’s Ravens rookie minicamp.

A precedent for Reynolds being allowed to play has already been set. The Patriots drafted long snapper Joe Cardona in the fifth round last season, and he played all of last season while also working at a Naval Preparatory Academy in Rhode Island.

Reynolds could be a busy man as well next season, juggling Navy responsibilities with football. However, Reynolds has long dreamed of playing in the NFL, and Mabus’ comments were a positive sign.

John Wall undergoes procedures on both knees

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John Wall undergoes procedures on both knees

Playing through discomfort all season, John Wall had procedures on both knees Thursday but is expected to be ready for the start of the Wizards' 2016-17 season, the team announced. 

The left knee was the bigger problem and it required the surgery to "excise calcific deposits in his left patella tendon," similar to bone spurs, to alleviate discomfort. He had an "arthroscopic lavage," or in generic terms a washing out of loose bodies, in his right knee. 

The surgery was performed at the Cleveland Clinic Marymount by Dr. Richard D. Parker after Wall had consultations with three other physicians that included Wizards head physician Wiemi Douoguih.

"The consultations with John, his agent and a variety of top medical professionals led us all to the conclusion that the best course of action for John was to have this procedure now with regards to both next season and his long-term health," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement.

Wall missed the last five games of a 41-41 regular season as the Wizards missed the playoffs because of his right knee that blew up after a practice. 

Wall's left knee caused him to miss half of his 2012-13 season because of a stress reaction.