One thing to remember, is that regardless of what happens with the motions panel, the merits briefing will move along. One has nothing to do with the other.
So let's assume that Judge Legg denies the permanent motion for stay (dissolves the stay). The injunction against applying 5ii is once again in effect. The 90 day clock starts again, as if the temp stay never happened.
I suspect that the ruling will come in close to or after the 90 days (dated from March 2nd). They either have to send out denials or grant the permits. This, before they can even file their motion to the 4th.
Meanwhile, the merits phase will have already begun. It may even be that the opening brief will have been made (we don't know yet what the briefing schedule will be).
Those that have been denied, will have 10 days to appeal to the gun Board. It is highly recommended that any denials immediately appeal (section 5-311 or 5-312), to keep their application alive.
If Judge Legg is really good in writing his order to deny the stay, the motions panel will most likely deny the State their stay (keeping the injunction in full force). The merits briefings will be in full swing.
During all of this hypothetical scenario, should the Gun Board deny the permits and the 4th Circuit uphold the judgment of the district court, each and every member of the board can be held civilly liable (section 1983) for denying a fundamental right. There will be no qualified immunity for them, even if the State pays their legal fees.
Of course, those folks who are not members of the SAF, will have to foot their own legal fight. Because the SAF already has standing, those SAF members can go to the SAF, which will then come before Judge Legg and have him issue contempt charges, against the board and/or State, for their members.
What I'm trying to say is that if the District Court denies the stay, the State and the Gun Board are not going to want to tick this Judge off.
So, next scenario. Judge Legg denies the stay. The circuit motions panel denies the stay. Should MD be stupid enough (and yes, they have already shown they can be this stupid: i.e. returning unprocessed apps with the uncashed check), yes, they can then appeal to the SCOTUS with a motion to stay.
The problem with doing this, is that all such motions go directly to the Chief Justice. I should also mention that the merits briefing will likely be over and a date for orals will have been set. CJ Roberts (or more likely, his clerks) will read both decisions and render his own. CJ Roberts will take a dim view on doing something both the district and circuit feel is unwarranted.
Meanwhile... The Kachalsky case (2nd Circuit), Hightower (1st Circuit) and Piszczatoski (3rd Circuit), will possibly all have been decided, by the time orals are held for Woolard.
Heck, the 2 NRA cases at the 5th Circuit may also have been decided. All of this may have some bearing on what the 4th Circuit might decide. That decision will most likely come out sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
If there are any appellate attorneys here, feel free to jump in and correct any of this layman's understandings.