Despite all of the necessary attention to the General Assembly and our work to fight off as much bad legislation as possible, MSI has been tirelessly involved in litigation on numerous fronts.
In multiple counts, the suit alleges that the ordinance is an impermissible "general law" under the State Constitution and is inconsistent with and preempted by multiple State statutes. The suit also attacks the vague requirements as a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Maryland Constitution. The Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory judgment and an injunction against the enforcement of the ordinance. Citizens have a Second Amendment right to acquire firearms and dealers have the ancillary Second Amendment right to sell them. The Anne Arundel ordinance would drive up dealer costs and hamper the exercise of both those rights. Read the Amended Complaint HERE
US Supreme Court Orders Response from MD Attorney General Brian Frosh in "Assault Weapon" Ban Challenge
On January 14, the Supreme Court ordered the Maryland Attorney General to file a response to the petition for certiorari filed by plaintiffs in Bianchi v. Frosh, No. 21-901. In that case, plaintiffs are challenging Maryland's "assault weapon" ban as unconstitutional.
That order means, at the minimum, that at least one Justice on the Court wants a response. It also likely means that the Court will hold this petition pending a decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, No. 20-843, in which the Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of New York's "good cause" requirement for carry permits. Holding Bianchi would be consistent with the hold that the Court has apparently placed on the petition filed in the New Jersey "large-capacity magazine" case, ANJRPC v. Bruck, No. 20-1507. The petition in that case has been pending in the Supreme Court since April of 2021. All of this is good news. A decision in Bruen this Spring may mean that the Court will thereafter vacate the lower court decisions in both Bianchi and ANJRPC and remand for further consideration in light of Bruen. At least, we hope that is the outcome.
On August 12, 2021, Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that a violation of Md. Criminal Law § 4-203(a)(1)(i) is a strict liability crime. Put simply, if one has a handgun on or about them and is not authorized to do so, they are guilty of violating the law. The case is Lawrence v. State, 471 Md. 101 (2021).
Section 4-203 is the statute that broadly prohibits the wear, carry, or transport of handguns within the State. Specifically, § 4-203(a)(1)(i) states:
(a) (1) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a person may not:
(i) wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person;
There are a few exceptions to this ban (found in subsection (b) of Section 4-203), such as one having a Maryland Wear and Carry Permit, possession in the home or business (by the business owner), or when transporting an unloaded handgun (kept in an enclosed case or enclosed holster) between a gun shop and one's residence or from their residence to a gun range. But, outside these sharply limited exceptions set out in subsection (b), the passage above otherwise broadly criminalizes having a pistol on (or about) the person.
On June 16, 2021, we filed an emergency motion for partial summary judgment on three of our counts against Montgomery County's enactment of Bill 4-21. The motion seeks to enjoin the County from enforcing their new illegal laws which will go into effect on July 16th without action from the Court. Find the motion HERE and the memorandum in support HERE. As we have stated previously, we will not sit idle while politicians make criminals of ordinary and law-abiding residents. You can learn more and find updates about this case at tinyurl.com/msivmoco.
Taking these challenges is not possible without your support! Consider becoming a member of MSI, donating, or wearing MSI apparel or picking up our accessories.
You can read the complaint HERE.
Further filings can be found below.
We at Maryland Shall Issue send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jeff Hulbert. Jeff passed this morning (5/3/2021) surrounded by his loved ones after a lengthy and valiant battle against cancer. He was an outspoken and stalwart proponent of individual rights and a fierce supporter of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Jeff founded the Patriot Picket, a group that "hits the bricks" with stylized signs and pointed political messages in promotion and defense of those rights. Please keep the Hulbert family in your thoughts and prayers as we remember and honor Jeff.
A Decision Three Long Years in the Making (and it still isn't over)
The First Amendment protects the right to advocate so in fundamentally important ways, the First Amendment helps protect the Second Amendment. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, including unlawful arrests. So when two MSI members, Jeff and Kevin Hulbert, were arrested on the sidewalks of Annapolis on the evening of February 5th, 2018 for holding edgy signs that criticized the powers that be in the General Assembly, MSI and the Hulberts swiftly filed suit in federal court in Baltimore for a violation of their First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights. The arresting officers were named as defendants, but they are represented by counsel from the State Attorney General's Office.
Video of arrests on 2/5/2018 - "1st Amendment Under Attack"
In an opening gambit, the defendants first moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, but that effort failed when the Court didn't buy it. Then extensive discovery ensured, which was delayed with the pandemic. That discovery showed that the arrests that night stemmed from a call from the Governor's mansion to have the group moved because the "mansion" did not want to be bothered with questions or attempts at conversations by the protestors. Everyone (including the defendants and other officers at the Capitol Police) admitted that these orders came from the "mansion," but, amazingly, no one at the "mansion" could identify who gave the orders. We did discover that such orders happen as often as twice a month, or whenever someone at the "mansion" decides that the "mansion" does not want to deal with completely peaceful protestors lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. We can only wonder at the identity of this "mansion" person.
On December 21st, 2020, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari before the Supreme Court of United States in Maryland Shall Issue, Inc et al. v Hogan. Read the petition HERE.
Update 12/29/2020: The Supreme Court has docketed the case. https://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/20-855.html
Call v. Jones III
On behalf of our members, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc. is proud to announce that we’ve partnered with the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Second Amendment Foundation, and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in bringing a new legal challenge to Maryland’s unconstitutional ‘wear and carry’ permit requirements.
The ‘good and substantial reason’ requirement for issuance of a permit imposed by Maryland law has long been used to effectively disqualify the vast majority of law-abiding Marylanders of their right to carry a handgun for the lawful purpose of self-defense. The time has come to end Maryland’s subjective and discriminatory law and regulations. The people of Maryland have a fundamental right to protect themselves in public.
Case Documents and History
US District Court for the District of Maryland Case# 1:20-cv-03304-DKC
11/13/20 - Complaint
12/7/20 - Defendants' Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss
12/21/20 - Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
3/19/21 - Order Granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
3/26/21 - Notice of Appeal to US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Case# 21-1334
5/7/21 - Joint Motion to Hold Appeal in Abeyance
5/7/21 - Order Granting Motion to Suspend Briefing
5/10/21 - Order Granting Motion to Hold in Abeyance
Case is being held by the Fourth Circuit pending the outcome of NYSRPA v. Bruen
9th Circuit Rules Magazines Capable of Holding more than 10 Rounds are Protected by the 2nd Amendment
On August 14th, a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled 2-1 that magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition are indeed protected by the 2nd Amendment. As such, California's ban on the possession of these common items has been found unconstitional by the court. We welcome and agree with the majority opinion. California can seek rehearing en banc before a panel of 11 judges in the 9th Circuit and/or file a petition for certiorari before the United States Supreme Court.
You can read the opinion in Duncan v Becerra HERE
We are pleased that the court of appeals has allowed this important Second Amendment challenge to the Maryland Handgun Qualification License (HQL) to proceed to the merits. We look forward to further proceedings in District Court.
You can read the opinion from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit HERE
In a sharply split, 2-1 decision, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that Maryland may ban the possession of "Rapid Fire Trigger Activators" by existing owners without paying just compensation under Fifth Amendment or the Maryland Constitution. The majority ruled that no just compensation was owed to existing, lawful owners because the ban “does not require owners of rapid fire trigger activators to turn them over to the Government or to a third party.” In short, as far as this majority is concerned, the State is free to ban the possession of any personal property without paying just compensation unless the State puts the property into its own pocket or the pocket of a third party. If that is the law, then no personal property, of any kind, is safe from the grasping clutches of the General Assembly. For example, the State could ban possession of your existing car and not pay a dime. The dissenting opinion ably demolishes the majority's reasoning. Needless to say, we will be seeking further review.
You can read the ruling HERE. Stay tuned.
Maryland Shall Issue will continue to fight for the interests and rights of its members and the public, but to do so requires resources and your help. Consider joining or donating to MSI.
Due to a systems failure on the morning of June 21st within the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections Services (DPSCS), the Maryland State Police (MSP) was no longer able to complete background checks for Handgun Qualification Licenses (HQL), regulated firearms transfers (77R transfers), and Wear and Carry Permit background investigations. DPSCS have since restored their systems and the MSP have been processing background checks as fast as they can. We appreciate the efforts of the State Police to remedy the backlog as quickly as possible, though the bureaucratic processes created by the General Assembly compounds these issues for Marylanders who are merely trying to protect themselves.
Background Checks Underway After Data System Restored
(PIKESVILLE, MD) — Maryland State Police Licensing Division employees worked throughout the night and will continue to work around-the-clock to address pending regulated firearm purchase applications after a state data system was restored late yesterday.
At about 8:30 p.m. yesterday, the State Police Licensing Division was notified by officials at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services that the data system had been restored and access to background check information was available. Employees at the Licensing Division immediately began completing background check investigations on the regulated firearm purchase applications that had been pending since a system failure occurred on June 21st.
Licensing Division employees worked throughout the night and will continue to work around-the-clock until all pending and incoming regulated firearm purchase applications have been reviewed and are being completed within Maryland’s required seven day waiting period. Even with employees working 24-hours-a-day to address this, the process is anticipated to take several days to complete. The Licensing Division continues to work with Maryland’s licensed firearms dealers to track any regulated firearm released after the waiting period, but before full completion of the background check process.
As of 4:00 p.m. yesterday, information from Maryland firearms dealers indicated that of the 893 firearm purchase applications eligible for release, 54 regulated firearms had been released to customers after the seven day waiting period had passed. The individuals receiving those firearms were the first ones background checks were conducted on during the night. There were no prohibiting factors found for any of those applicants.
As far as we know, there's no evidence or information to suggest that anyone's personal information was comprimised while the systems were down and none of the applicants whose dealer released firearms to them failed or would have failed background checks.
While the MSP have asked the Dealers to hold off on releasing any regulated firearms (handguns) until the checks completed, dealers may release regulated firearms on the 8th day after a transaction at their discretion. From the MSP's latest advisory on 6/25:
Should the RFD elect to exercise their statutory option to release a regulated firearm on the eighth day, we ask that the procedure listed below be followed:
1. The RFD will access their Licensing Portal;
2. locate the application to be released within the “SUBMITTED APPLICATIONS” section;
3. print a copy of the application;
4. verify that all information in “Section 4” is accurate;
5. both the RFD and the applicant will sign and complete “Section 6;”
6. scan and send the completed copy of the 77R to .
Maryland Handgun Background Check System Crashes, Leaving Gun Buyers in Limbo - Washington Free Beacon
Citing a ‘catastrophic hardware failure,' Maryland State Police report delays in gun background checks and licenses - Baltimore Sun
Guns sold without completed background checks in Maryland - WUSA9
After ‘Catastrophic Hardware Failure,’ Dozens Of Guns Were Released Without Completed Background Checks In Maryland - WAMU
Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., its members and Atlantic Guns were represented in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Richmond, VA) on the morning of May 6th via teleconference, appealing the lower court's dismissal of the Maryland Handgun Qualification License lawsuit on standing grounds.
MSI and it's members consider the HQL requirement (and it's provisions, such as one live round, fees, fingerprinting, etc.) an egregious infringement upon the rights of Marylanders to acquire the means to their own defense.
Listen to the oral argument recording of Maryland Shall Issue, inc. v Lawrence Hogan (19-1469) below
You can find additional info, including briefs in this case and info on 2nd Amendment-related challenges across the country in the Litigation Tracker.
Gun Ranges and and Federal Firearms Licensees may remain open!
Governor Hogan's latest order (dated March 30, 2020) states:
This Order controls the occupancy and use of all businesses, organizations, establishments, and facilities that are not part of the critical infrastructure sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (currently described at https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19) (collectively, “Non-Essential Businesses”).
That cross reference to the DHS website is controlling as to the scope of the Governor's definition of "non-essential businesses." Stated differently, the order expressly does NOT apply to businesses that are part of the "critical infrastructure sectors," as defined by DHS. That cross reference thus requires reference to the DHS site in order to determine what is a "critical infrastructure" business.
At that DHS website is the Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response Version 2.0 (March 28, 2020), available at https://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CISA_Guidance_on_the_Essential_Critical_Infrastructure_Workforce_Version_2.0_Updated.pdf. That document sets out the "identified essential critical infrastructure workers," which includes: "Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges." Those businesses may remain open, including "firearm or ammunition . . . retailers" and "shooting ranges."
We endorse the Governor's recommendations for safe practices while at these facilities. See https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/. If you have any questions on the scope of the Governor's orders, you should consult your lawyer. The Governor's orders have the force of law and a violation of the orders is a criminal misdemeanor. See MD Code, Public Safety, § 14-114.
This tracker features briefs, orders, and statuses of important gun-related litigation from around the country, including MSI's.
Generously provided and maintained by Rob Romano at 2Aupdates and Firearms Policy Coalition.
Maryland Shall Issue, Inc. Litigation
Maryland Shall Issue Inc, et al. v. Anne Arundel County (1st Amendment, Firearms Dealers Requirements) - United States District Court for the District Court of Maryland Case# 1:22-cv-00865
Maryland Shall Issue Inc, et al. v. Anne Arundel County (Pre-Emption, Firearms Dealers Requirements) - Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, MD Case# C-02-CV-22-000217
Maryland Shall Issue Inc et al. v. Montgomery County (Pre-Emption, Privately-made firearms, Carry Prohibitions) - Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD Case# 485899-V
Call v Jones III (Carry Permits) - United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Case# 21-1334
Hulbert v Pope (1st Amendment, Unlawful Arrest) - United States District Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Case# 21-1608
Maryland Shall Issue Inc, et al. v Hogan (Handgun Qualification License) - United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Case# 21-2017
None of this litigation or any of the work we're able to do would be possible without your generous support. Please consider joining us if you're not a member. If you already are, encourage a friend or family member to sign-up! Wear your support, pick up some MSI Empty Chamber Indicators, or donate. It is all greatly appreciated.
Maryland Shall Issue v Hogan (2018 SB707, RFTA takings) - Fourth Circuit upheld MD's takings of personally held property (bump stocks, binary triggers, etc...) without just compensation - Cert Denied by US Supreme Court
Whalen v Handgun Permit Review Board (Good and substantial reason) - MD Court of Special Appeals Case# CSA-REG-2431-2018 - Dismissed
Kolbe v Hogan ("Assault Weapons," magazine capacity restrictions) - Fourth Circuit upheld MD's weapons and magazine bans, Cert Denied by US Supreme Court
John Doe, et al vs Marcus L Brown, et al (Maryland State Police mishandling of personal data) - Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County Case# 02-C-13-181857 - Voluntarily dismissed
Doe, et al vs Brown, et al - Circuit Court for Baltimore County Case# 03-C-13-005388 - Dismissed
MSI Amicus Filings
District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) - Supreme Court of the United States Case# 07-290
AMICUS BRIEF OF GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA, ET AL. IN SUPPORT OF RESPONDENT
McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) - Supreme Court of the United States Case# 08-1521
AMICUS BRIEF OF GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA, ET AL. IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS
Holloway v Rosen (2021) - Supreme Court of the United States Case# 20-782
AMICUS BRIEF OF MONTANA SHOOTING SPORTS ASSOCIATION IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER
The Modern Sportsman, LLC v United States of America (2021) - United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Case# 20-1107
AMICUS BRIEF OF MARYLAND SHALL ISSUE, INC., IN SUPPORT OF APPELLANTS AND REVERSAL
New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen (2022) - Supreme Court of the United States Case# 20-843
AMICUS BRIEF OF SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION, ET AL. IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS AND REVERSAL
Non-MSI Cases of Interest in Maryland
Woollard v Gallagher (Good and substantial reason) - Fourth Circuit upheld MD's "good and substantial reason" requirement for wear and carry permit eligibility, Cert Denied by US Supreme Court
Lawrence v. State (Prohibition on wear, carry, transport of handguns - Mens Rea) - Maryland Court of Appeals rules that a violation of Md. Criminal Law § 4-203(a)(1)(i) is a strict liability crime
MSI is now an AGC club!
Maryland Shall Issue, inc. is proud to announce that it has formally joined the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore (AGC) as an Associated Club. Therefore, anyone who is a current member of MSI in good standing is eligible to purchase an AGC range badge upon completion of a range safety orientation. This is an important benefit for members as the AGC range is one of the finest shooting facilities on the East Coast.
Not an MSI member yet? Join here!
In this case, the appellant, Holmes Whalen, was denied a carry permit by the Maryland State Police and that denial was sustained by the Handgun Permit Review Board. Mr. Whalen challenged that denial in circuit court, contending Maryland's "good and substantial reason" requirement for a carry permit was unconstitutional and that prior Maryland precedent have been superseded by subsequent Supreme Court holdings.