Whalen v Handgun Permit Review Board Argued Before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals

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and substantial reason" requirement for a carry permit was unconstitutional and that prior Maryland precedent have been superseded by subsequent Supreme Court holdings. 

The circuit court nonetheless sustained the good and substantial reason requirement and Mr. Whalen appealed to the the Court of Special Appeals, Maryland's intermediate appellate court. The appeal was fully briefed over the summer and was orally argued before a three-judge panel of the court on November 4.  Mr. Whalen was represented on this appeal by the President of Maryland Shall Issue. 

It is, of course, difficult to predict the outcome of any case from oral argument.  At oral argument, the State AG's Office did concede (properly) that while Supreme Court decisions are binding, the Maryland state courts are not bound by lower federal court decisions, including the Fourth Circuit's decision in Woollard, where the court sustained the good and substantial reason requirement.  The issue is thus presented for the first time in the Maryland courts since the Supreme Court decided Heller in 2008 and applied that ruling to the States in McDonald in 2010.  In our view, Mr. Whalen has the much better argument on the law on this issue, especially given the D.C. Circuit's recent decision in Wrenn and in the Ninth Circuit panel's decision in Young.  There is a chance that the court will await guidance from the Supreme Court in the pending NYSRPA case (which will be argued on December 2).  Should Mr. Whalen lose in the Court of Special Appeals, then he could file a petition for certiorari to Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals.  From there, any appeal would go to the Supreme Court of the United States.  Stay tuned.


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Maryland Shall Issue Argues Against the HQL Before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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.

Please consider supporting MSI's and its all volunteer membership's efforts, on your behalf, by joining and/or donating to our shared cause.

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.

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

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