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

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:

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

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