Montgomery County Bill 21-22E is in Effect

It is now practically impossible for anyone other than active police officers and security guards to lawfully carry a firearm for personal defense in public within Montgomery County.

UPDATE 7/6/23:

The federal district court in our Second Amendment challenge to Montgomery County’s ban on public carry has denied our motion for a preliminary injunction. The opinion leaves County Code, Chapter 57-11 in full effect, meaning it is practically impossible for a permit holder to legally carry a handgun for self-defense within the county.

MSI disagrees strongly with the court’s opinion and will file a notice of appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In the meantime, we note that the county has repeatedly refused to suspend enforcement while the court challenges are pending. The county is thus free to enforce the ordinance at any time it so chooses. You can read more on the effects of Bill 21-22E HERE.

Separately, the parallel state claims presented in this suit are progressing before Montgomery County Circuit Court. The County has filed a motion for summary judgment in State court and, on July 5, 2023, plaintiffs have filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. You can find those pleadings HERE under Circuit Court for Montgomery County Case # 485899V. Briefing on these motions will continue into the fall.

Find all of the federal and state court briefings at the case page HERE.

We will provide further updates as appropriate.

On 11/28/2022, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich signed Bill 21-22E into law. The Bill goes into effect immediately. The Bill has now banned the possession, transport, sale or transfer of any firearm in countless locations across Maryland's most populous county. It is now legally very risky to carry a firearm in Montgomery County with a wear and carry permit. Bill 21-22E repealed the prior exemption for permit holders and then imposes its bans on a long list of locations, including within 100 yards of such locations.  It is simply impossible, as a practical matter, to possess and transport a firearm in the County in public with a wear and carry permit in compliance with the County's gun laws. That is because it is nearly impossible to move around the County without entering one or more of the many 100-yard exclusion zones enacted by Bill 21-22E. 

Literally, the entire urban area and many areas in the rural segments of Montgomery County are now off-limits for carry by permit holders, including Interstate 495 and Interstate 270 and Route 355 as well as the other major roads, highways and countless neighborhoods in the County. With the enactment of Bill 21-22E, carrying with a permit in the County will expose the permit holder to arrest and prosecution not only under County law (6 months imprisonment and a fine) but also to arrest and prosecution under MD Code, Public Safety, § 4-203(a), a violation of which is punishable by up to three years imprisonment and a fine. That is because the permit is not valid where firearms are prohibited by law (check the back of the permit). A conviction under Section 4-203(a) creates a lifetime disqualification from the possession of a firearm or ammunition under both federal and state law. 

The day after Bill 21-22E went into effect, MSI responded to the bill's enactment by amending its existing lawsuit against the County in federal district court. Though the County Executive and Council may believe and pretend otherwise, Marylanders have a right to carry firearms for their personal defense in public. We have moved quickly to urge the Court to resolve the matter on an emergency basis by asking for leave to file a motion for an emergency TRO and preliminary injunction. Once leave is granted, that motion will be filed and, we hope, adjudicated expeditiously. Stay tuned. 

Maryland Shall Issue Inc., et al v. Montgomery County
Second Amended Complaint:
Notice of Intent to Submit a Motion for a TRO and Preliminary Injunction:

With the bill's signature, it is now criminal to possess, sell, transfer, transport, or carry a firearm, with or without a carry permit, in or within 100 yards of any publicly or privately owned:
  • park
  • place of worship
  • school
  • library
  • recreational facility
  • hospital
  • community health center, including any health care facility or community-based program licensed by the Maryland Department of Health
  • long-term facility, including any licensed nursing home, group home, or care home
  • multipurpose exhibition facility, such as a fairgrounds or conference center
  • childcare facility
Bill 21-22E also criminalize firearms possession, transport, sale or transfer by any person (including permit holders) at or within 100 yards of a:
  • government building, including any place owned by or under the control of the County
  • polling place
  • courthouse
  • legislative assembly, and
  • a gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional right to protest or assemble
This includes "all property associated with the place, such as a parking lot or grounds of a building." Essentially, roughly a football field's distance extends in every direction from all of these places and their grounds.

The exceptions are narrow. The [brackets] indicate where language exempting permit holders was removed by Bill 21-22E:


The bill also amended the County's ordinance concerning privately made firearms, in an (unsuccessful) attempt to make the County's existing ban on such firearms consistent with state and federal law concerning privately made firearms (which the County insists on mischaracterizing as "ghost guns"). Bill 21-22E squarely violates the Second Amendment in multiple ways under the Supreme Court's decision in Bruen and conflicts with State and federal laws governing privately owned firearms.

Stay tuned for further developments.

MSI cannot take on any of these challenges without your support. Don't be a free rider. Join or donate to MSI today.

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