Victory in the 9th Circuit!

In a huge decision authored by Judge O'Scannlain, a split panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that Hawaii's ban on open carry outside the home in that state violates the Second Amendment under any level of scrutiny. The decision, Young v. Hawaii, can be found here. The decision is very scholarly, carefully reasoned and a powerful statement that the Second Amendment is not a "second-class" right or a constitutional "orphan."

The Young court expressly agreed with the D.C. Circuit's holding in Wrenn that the Second Amendment applies outside the home no less than it applies inside the home. The opinion also held that every law-abiding citizen enjoys this right of self-defense outside the home, not merely those who can show a special need. As the court stated, "[a]n individual right that does not apply to the ordinary citizen would be a contradiction in terms; its existence instead would wax and wane with the whims of the ruling majority." While the court did not directly purport to go into conflict with the Woollard case, which sustained the "good and substantial reason" requirement for carry permits imposed by Maryland law, the court's reasoning that that the Second Amendment applies to every law-abiding citizen directly contradicts the entire premise on which Maryland law ls based.

The court also ruled that the Hawaii statute that technically allowed for concealed carry with a permit was not an adequate substitute because counsel for Hawaii admitted in open court that Hawaii never grants such permits. The court thus concluded that Hawaii has effectively and completely banned carry outside the home and that such a ban was categorically unconstitutional. This is very big ruling, akin to the Seventh Circuit's decision in Moore v. Madigan that Illinois could not ban public carry. It remains to be seen whether Hawaii will seek en banc review by the 9th Circuit or, failing that, Supreme Court review. The decision certainly sharpens the split in the circuits. The court's analysis is a wonderful contribution to this area of law that is sure to influence future cases. We will bring you updates as they occur.

What does this mean for Maryland? Directly, not much, as Maryland sits in the Fourth Circuit which has already sustained Maryland's "good and substantial reason" against a facial challenge in Woollard. However, Woollard has been directly challenged in a pending district court case which was filed specifically to seek to have Woollard overturned by the Supreme Court. That case is still pending. The powerful opinion in Young will help formulating the arguments to present to the Supreme Court in that case as well as cases pending elsewhere, any one of which might land in the Supreme Court. These cases seek to take advantage of the split in the circuits created by the D.C. Circuit's decision in Wrenn, where the court struck down as unconstitutional DC's "good reason" requirement for carry permits. The wheels of the law grind slowly.


Latest News

Court Uphold's MD's Taking of Rapid Fire Trigger Activators

 

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.

Background Checks for Firearms Purchases and Licenses Interrupted

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.

From the MSP:

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 .

Additional Coverage:
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

Contact Info

Headquarters:

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Ste C #1015
Baltimore, MD 21234-2150

Phone:  410-849-9197
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