Today's hearing went well. Good, even.
This judge was prepared. He studied everything, including cited cases.
His words: he leans towards the right extending outside the home...but it might be subject to lesser scrutiny. The question is whether G&S survives that intermediate standard. Also discussed was the idea of "advanced intermediate" (his words), muck like Ezell. He asked both sides if it existed. Both pretty much said yes.
The judge recognized that the point of Maryland regulation was to reduce the number of permit holders in the state. The state reluctantly agreed. The judge asked about statistics of permit holders that commit crimes...in Texas. Maryland tripped over it Gura said "zero point one three percent."
The judge asked if the state public interest argument let's them "ration a constitutional right." The state said yes.
It is not all roses for our side. The judge appears sympathetic to arguments that dense populations in parks or downtown will represent a significant risk. But then he noted that would be another case, if Maryland banned those areas.
We can still lose this, easily. The number one question asked was literally "how do I end-run the constitutional question?"
The 4th circuit said don't answer it if you can avoid it. So the first hurdle is just getting him to answer it.
I won't handicap this yet. I have six pages Of notes and will do a full report later when the iPhone and lunch is not an issue.