The Maryland attorney general's office on Friday asked the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to block a lower court's ruling that would drastically increase the number of people eligible to carry concealed firearms in the state.

Law enforcement agencies will "suffer irreparable harm to their ability to protect public safety, an indisputably compelling government interest, in the absence of a stay," attorneys wrote in a 38-page filing.

U.S. District Court Judge Benson E. Legg earlier ruled that a state law requiring gun carry permit applicants to show they have a "good and substantial reason" to carry violated the Second Amendment. In a separate order issued this week, he gave the state until Aug. 7 to stop enforcing the requirement.

The attorney general's office is appealing the ruling and has asked for the stay to be put in place pending a decision in the case, which could take a year.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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