ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland can continue enforcing its gun permit law requiring residents to show a "good and substantial reason" to carry handguns until a federal appeals court decides the matter, the court said Wednesday.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond granted a stay in the case as requested by Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler. The court also directed the case to be expedited, tentatively scheduling arguments during a session set for Oct. 23-26.

"The proceedings have been expedited and the state will present its arguments to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in late October," said David Paulson, a spokesman for Gansler. "In the meantime, the state will continue to follow and enforce this law as passed by the General Assembly."

Gansler's office sought the stay from the appeals court after U.S. District Judge Benson Legg lifted a stay on his finding that the state's law was unconstitutional. If the appeals court had not ordered a stay, the law would have been changed effective Aug. 7.

In March, Legg found that the right to bear arms is not limited to the home and that Maryland's law was designed to minimize the number of firearms outside homes by limiting the privilege to those who could demonstrate "good reason."

The case stems from a Hampstead man who sought a permit after fighting with an intruder in his home in 2002. Plaintiff Raymond Woollard obtained a handgun permit after the incident, but he was denied a renewal in 2009 because he could not show he had been subject to "threats occurring beyond his residence." Woollard appealed, but his appeal was rejected by the review board, which found he had not demonstrated a "good and substantial reason" to carry a handgun as a reasonable precaution.

The Second Amendment Foundation, which brought the case in 2010, contended the state did not have a reason to deny the renewal and wrongly put the burden on Woollard to show why he still needed to carry a gun.