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  • Response to “The handgun board that couldn't shoot straight.”

Response to “The handgun board that couldn't shoot straight.”

The Sun, in its February 8, 2019 editorial, ably demonstrates once again that it does not grasp the complexity of gun law in Maryland in asserting that the Handgun Permit Review Board somehow has created a “loophole” in Maryland gun law by reversing the Maryland State Police 222 times on handgun wear and carry permits issued by the State Police. 

First, Sun fails to note that the vast majority of those 222 times involve reversals on restrictions on permits that the State Police have issued and thus have already found that the applicant has a “good and substantial reason” under Maryland law for carrying a handgun outside the home.  These persons include business entrepreneurs carrying cash, security guards, private investigators and federal government employees with top security clearances and who are vulnerable to attack by foreign and domestic terrorists.  Even the State Police recognize that such individuals qualify for permits.

What the Sun does not tell its readers is that the restrictions placed on those permits by the State Police are hopelessly vague and thus expose these individuals to a great risk of detention, arrest and incarceration because the State Police have effectively required these individuals to forgo their constitutional rights and prove to an officer at the side of the road that they are within these vague restrictions.  That’s indefensible.  The Board quite properly has insisted that the restrictions not be vague.  The State Police simply refuse to do so, apparently preferring to leave these law-abiding citizens at great legal peril.  Shame on them.

The Sun demonstrates its ignorance of Maryland law by asserting that the Board is somehow acting improperly in holding some of these hearings in closed session.  Virtually all of these hearings involve restriction cases where the appeal is seeking to lift the restriction on an existing permit.  Maryland law expressly protects the confidentiality of these individuals who thus have every right to request closed sessions. MD Code, General Provisions, § 4-325.  These closed sessions are thus fully compliant with and, indeed, required by the Maryland’s Open Meeting statute.  MD Code General Provisions § 3-305(b)(13).  Look it up. The Board is just doing its job.  The Sun needs to bone up on the law. 

Finally, the Sun badly errs in suggesting that Maryland is safer because it restricts the right to carry to a truly tiny number of individuals.  Forty-two states and the District of Columbia (yes DC!) are “shall issue” jurisdictions that provide permits to every law-abiding adult individual upon proof that the applicant has met objective requirements (such as training) and after conducting a background check. Yet, it is Baltimore that leads the nation with the highest per capita murder rate.  For example, Philadelphia, (Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” permit state), with a population more than double that of Baltimore, actually has far fewer murders than Baltimore and a murder rate of less than half of Baltimore.  So much for gun control making Maryland safer.  As for carry permits, even gun control advocates admit that permit holders are the most law-abiding persons in America, with crime rates a fraction of those of commissioned police officers (See: Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States). The most recent study (January 2019) published by the American College of Surgeons (hardly a gun group) demonstrated “no statistically significant association between the liberalization of state level firearm carry legislation over the last 30 years and the rates of homicides or other violent crime.” The facts matter. 

In short, the only entity that isn’t “shooting straight” is the Sun.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark W. Pennak, President

Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.
1332 Cape St. Claire Road #342
Annapolis, MD 21409


Latest News

Shooting Ranges and Dealers Are Critical Infrastructure and May Remain Open!

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.

Link to Governor Hogan's Fourth Executive Order

Link to the latest guidance from the Department of Homeland Security

Maryland Shall Issue has joined the AGC!

As of March 19th, 2020, the AGC is currently closed due to Governor Hogan's Executive Orders in efforts to mitigate COVID-19. You can find those orders here: https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Amending-Gatherings.pdf

 


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. 

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Contact Info

Headquarters:

Maryland Shall Issue®, Inc.
9613 Harford Rd
Ste C #1015
Baltimore, MD 21234-2150

Phone:  410-849-9197
Email: 
Web:   www.marylandshallissue.org