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State v. Crawford

308 Md. 683, 521 A.2d 1193 (1987)

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State v. Crawford

Maryland Court of Appeals

308 Md. 683, 521 A.2d 1193 (1987)

Facts

Leonard Crawford (defendant) was attacked and shot in his apartment. In wrestling the gun from an assailant, Crawford fell out of his second-story apartment window. The gun landed next to him. Crawford heard someone approaching and picked up the gun to defend himself. Crawford was wounded and dazed and had no opportunity to try to contact the police. Crawford tried to crawl away, but his assailants pursued him and shot him. Once Crawford saw a police officer, he surrendered the gun. Crawford was charged with assault and illegally carrying a handgun in violation of a state statute, Art. 27, § 36B(b), which established a blanket rule prohibiting any person from carrying, whether open or concealed, any handgun. The only exceptions were for law-enforcement personnel, persons with permits, persons transporting handguns for legitimate purposes, and persons on their own property. Permits may be granted when possessing the gun is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger. Crawford had no permit for the gun. At trial, Crawford’s counsel requested a jury instruction as to the availability of the defense of necessity to the charge of unlawful possession of a handgun. The trial court declined to give the instruction. The jury found Crawford not guilty of assault, but guilty of unlawful possession of a handgun. The court of special appeals reversed, holding that Crawford had a right, under the circumstances, to possess the gun. The Maryland Court of Appeals granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cole, J.)

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