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City State: Morning Roundup

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Judge voids Maryland's 'good reason' handgun ban; Gray to pitch statehood at GOP convention; Donor raid reverberates through city hall; Metro announces most dangerous stations; Anne Arundel to rat owners: Neuter your rodents; Ehrlich plans law clinic for pardons.

A federal judge has struck down a Maryland law barring residents from receiving handgun permits unless they have a "good and substantial reason," in an opinion that gun rights advocates celebrated Monday as a "monumentally important decision." U.S. District Judge Benson Everett Legg ruled that the law violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms by requiring residents seeking concealed-carry permits to submit evidence showing that they face specific threats of violence outside their homes, according to The Washington Times.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, a Democrat, plans to take his campaign for statehood to the Republican Party's national convention in Tampa. He recently told the D.C. Democratic caucus that he has been encouraged by recent comments from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and House Majority leader Eric Cantor on easing oversight over the D.C. budget. Mr. Gray says he plans to make his pitch at the conventions of both major parties this summer, according to The Washington Post.

The full intent of a federal raid late Friday on an influential D.C. political donor's home and offices remains unclear, but by Monday morning the potential fallout of the incident reverberated through city hall, on the campaign trail and in a long-shot effort to recall the city's top elected officials, according to The Times.

A new Metro report says the Deanwood Metrorail station in Northeast Washington was the most dangerous stop on the transit system last year. The Washington Examiner reports that Deanwood topped the list with 67 cases of serious crime, which can include robbery, rape, auto theft or assault. The Anacostia station came in second, followed by the L'Enfant Plaza, Suitland and College Park stations. The five safest stations were Arlington Cemetery, Clarendon, Eisenhower Avenue, Farragut West and Virginia Square-GMU. Metro overall had a 16 percent decline in serious incidents in 2011 compared with a six-year high recorded in 2010.

For years, lawyers, faith-based groups and students have helped file petitions for inmates seeking to cut short lengthy prison sentences. But there have been no comparable resources for felons who sought pardons after serving their time. That may soon change. In response to stories published in December by ProPublica and The Post, former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, a Republican, plans to launch the nation's first law school clinic and training program devoted to pardons, according to The Post.

Animal control officials in Anne Arundel County have a message for rat owners: Please spay or neuter your rodents. The Capital newspaper of Annapolis reports that Animal Control Administrator Robin Small is pitching a sterilization plan for rats, gerbils and other small mammals normally left out of spay and neuter campaigns. She says the shelter recently had to deal with more than 30 abandoned rats. Although many pet owners don't realize the rodents can be sterilized, Ms. Small said it can actually improve the animals' health. It takes just a few weeks for a rat embryo to become a baby rat.

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