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

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substantial reason" requirement for a carry permit was unconstitutional and that prior Maryland precedent have been superseded by subsequent Supreme Court holdings.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