MSI Bill Tracker - 2021 Maryland General Assembly

This tracker follows legislation and lawmakers in the Maryland General Assembly. It serves as an easily searchable gun and self-defense related bill database for supporters of the right to keep and bear arms.

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Red ❌= Oppose
Green ✅= Support
Light Green ✅= Support with amendment
Blue ℹ️= Informational Testimony Only (no position for or against the bill).

The 2021 Legislative Session of the General Assembly has concluded.
Find our recap of the session HERE

Find your representatives HERE

Committee Contacts can be found HERE

To Sign-up to testify, you MUST make a MyMGA Account!

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2021 Maryland General Assembly Recap


Quick Summary: With the clock striking midnight on April 12th, 2021, the Maryland General Assembly's 90-day legislative session came to an end.  With every session of the General Assembly, new attacks are launched against the law-abiding Maryland gun owners. This year was no different. However, because of some great testimony and advocacy, all the newly-filed bad bills failed. Unfortunately, the General Assembly did, as expected, override the Governor’s veto of the long guns background check bill, passed last year. But, the bills criminalizing owners of homemade firearms and an extreme gun storage bill failed to move. Sadly, all the sensible bills also didn't pass. The details of all these bills are set out below.

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March Legislative Update

With Crossover day (March 22) behind us, we have only seen a small handful of gun bills advance, all with limited impact. The so-called "Ghost Gun" bills, SB624/HB638 and HB1291 have not been brought before neither the Judicial Proceedings nor Judiciary committees for a voting session. The same is true for SB479/HB200, the extreme gun storage bills. The ammunition bill, HB175, likewise has not moved. MSI submitted oral and written testimony in vigorous opposition to each of these bills. A lot can change in the General Assembly in a very short amount of time, so there is no guarantee that these bills will not advance.  The committees have spent a great deal of time on bills related to police reform and issues related to and exacerbated by COVID-19. The end of the legislative session is fast approaching (midnight, April 12 is Sine Die). Any bills that have not passed their original chamber by now are not guaranteed a hearing in the opposite chamber if it does pass its original chamber. A bill must pass both chambers with both consenting to the same language by the end of session to go to the Governor's desk.

The Senate has so far passed SB10, SB15, and SB309. We oppose SB10 in its current form, as it is so poorly drafted and amended that it would criminalize possession of firearms in a home within 100ft of a polling place. As amended and passed in the Senate, SB10 does try to correct the issues with the bill that we had pointed out in testimony. You can read more on SB10 HERE.

SB15 (notice of expiration to permit holders) and SB309 (preliminary approval for carry permits applications) both passed the Senate unanimously and have been referred to the House Judiciary committee. We thank all of the members of the Senate for their support of these two very modest bills!

Many of you testified in February and early March on the bills mentioned above and the testimony was uniformly excellent. MSI has testified for many years in the General Assembly and what we saw this year was the best. Your advocacy brought thoughtful and at times, poignant, testimony on how the bills would personally affect you. While there were some familiar faces, MSI members who testified spoke extemporaneously, authentically, and it was clear they had done their homework. Thanks to all who submitted written and oral testimony before the committees so far. You are not just standing up for yourself, but so too for your fellow Marylanders. Links to the testimony can be found in the Bill Tracker ( under the Hearing Video/Media tab. The opposing testimony from the March 1st bills in Judiciary (HB200, HB638, HB1291, and HB175) is just fantastic, as is later testimony in support of Delegate Cox's shall-issue bill, HB845.


License, Registration, and Permit Renewals
Recently, Governor Hogan issued new executive orders related to COVID-19 that undo the suspension of expiration dates for all licenses issued by the State. If your carry permit would have expired over the last year, you must now submit a renewal application for their permit by June 30th, 2021. To learn more, see the notice from the Maryland State Police HERE.


Litigation Update

1. The Rapid Fire Trigger Activator case:  The Supreme Court case is MSI v. Hogan, No. 20-855 (US).  There, MSI and the individual plaintiffs have challenged as a Taking Maryland's ban on possession of previously lawfully owned and acquired "rapid fire trigger activators."  We lost that challenge in the Fourth Circuit in a split 2-1 decision, with a compelling and lengthy dissent by Judge Richardson. MSI v. Hogan, 963 F.3d 356 (4th 2020). We have thus filed a petition for certiorari with Supreme Court, asking the Court to review the Fourth Circuit's ruling.  MSI also filed an amicus brief with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in The Modern Sportsman, LLC v. United States, No. 20-1077 (Fed. Cir.), where a similar Takings issue is pending arising from the ATF's regulatory ban on bump stocks. That case was heard by the Federal Circuit at oral argument on December 8 and a decision is pending. The theory is simple:  If the government is going to ban the possession of lawfully acquired private property and thereby destroy all property rights in that property, then the State should pay for it. The State's Opposition to our petition for certiorari is due on March 29, after which we will file a reply brief. We may have a decision by the Court on whether to hear the case in late April or May. If the petition is granted, the case will be fully briefed over the summer with oral argument likely in the Fall. 

2. The HQL litigation:  MSI, along with individual plaintiffs and Atlantic Guns in Rockville, have challenged the constitutionality of the Handgun Qualification License requirement that was enacted as part of the so-called Firearms Safety Act of 2013. The district court initially dismissed the case on grounds that none of the plaintiffs had standing to sue and thus refused to reach the merits.  We appealed and, this last summer, that standing ruling was reversed by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. MSI v. Hogan, 971 F.3d 199 (4th Cir. 2020). On remand, the parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment and motions to strike. Those proceedings and briefings are still in progress. After full briefing, the district court may hold a hearing and will render a decision in due course.  

3. The First Amendment suit:  MSI, along with the Hulbert brothers, filed suit in federal court challenging the arrests that took place in Annapolis in 2018 of the Hulberts, who were peacefully and lawfully demonstrating on a public sidewalk (a.k.a, a "public forum"). After all, the First Amendment protects the right to advocate in support of the Second Amendment. The arrests at issue in this case thus chill advocacy by MSI and by every MSI member. The federal district court has already denied the defendants' earlier attempt to dismiss the case. Hulbert v. Pope, 2019 WL 1409707 (D. Md. 2019). Although the case was delayed by the COVID 19 pandemic, the parties have completed extensive pre-trial discovery and, as expected, the defendants have recently moved for summary judgment. That motion has been fully briefed and is awaiting a decision by the federal judge.  When that motion fails (as it should), we intend to take this case to a jury and recover substantial damages and equitable relief. 
4. The Challenge to the "Good and Substantial Reason" case:  Last, but hardly least, MSI has joined with the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the Second Amendment Foundation, and a number of individuals to challenge the constitutionality of Maryland's "good and substantial reason" requirement for the issuance of a wear and carry permit. The case name is Call v. Jones, No. 20-3304 (D. Maryland). The point of that suit is to challenge the Fourth Circuit's prior decision in Woollard v. Gallagher, 712 F.3d 865 (4th Cir. 2013) (in which the court sustained the requirement) by bringing this issue to the Supreme Court.  As expected, on March 19, the district court dismissed the complaint on the basis that Woollard was controllingThe plaintiffs will be filing a notice of appeal with the Fourth Circuit, which will likely summarily affirm on the basis of Woollard, just as it did in Malpasso v. Pallozzi, 767 Fed. Appx. 525 (4th Cir. 2019), where the same issue was raised by different parties. Once the Fourth Circuit acts on this appeal, a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court will be appropriate. Stated simply, the Woollard decision is in direct conflict with the D.C. Circuit's later decision in Wrenn v. District of Columbia, 864 F.3d 650, 661 (D.C. Cir. 2017), where the court held that the Second Amendment protected “the individual right to carry common firearms beyond the home for self-defense—even in densely populated areas, even for those lacking special self-defense needs.” As a result of Wrenn, the District of Columbia is now a "shall issue" jurisdiction, just like 42 states. Sooner or later, that will likewise be the law in Maryland. Indeed, this very issue is presently before the Supreme Court on a petition for certiorari filed in NYSRPA v. Corlett, No. 20-843, docketed Dec. 23. 2020) (U.S.).  That petition will likely be considered by the Court at a Friday conference in April.  So stay tuned. If certiorari is denied in Corlett, we will be presenting the same issue in this case. The Second Amendment cannot mean one thing in 42 states (and in D.C.) and something else in Maryland!


April MSI Membership Meeting
MSI will hold its next membership meeting online via Zoom on April 10th, 2021 at 1:30 pm. Links to join the meeting will be distributed to all active paid members only via email, so be sure that your current profile information on the MSI website is up to date. We will be giving updates on where the gun bills stand in the legislature, litigation updates, plans MSI has moving ahead, and much more.


Upcoming Events
If interested in volunteering, reach out to . Booth volunteers who do four shifts in a year get their MSI membership comped! They also may get into the show for free.

Baltimore County Game & Fish Gun Show
Saturday, 3 April - 8 AM to 5 PM

Baltimore County Game & Fish
3400 Northwind Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21234

MSI Membership Meeting
Saturday, April 10th at 1:30 pm

Online via Zoom

Frederick Gun Show
April 10th and 11th
Saturday - 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Sunday - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Frederick County Fairgrounds
797 E Patrick St
Frederick, MD 21701

AGC Range Day

AGC Range Day is Sunday, April 11 from 8 am - 12 pm, please come out to help get the range ready for the upcoming year. Volunteers are welcomed to stick around to enjoy shooting on the 100yd range with us from 1 pm - 4 pm and those who help do earn credit toward their badge fees with the AGC.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Michael Burke at  for more details and let him know what time you will be able to stop by so he can provide our club volunteer info to AGC.


Timonium Gun Show
April 17 and 18th
Saturday - 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Timonium Fairgrounds
2200 York Rd
Timonium, MD 21093

Chantilly Gun Show
April 23rd, 24th, and 25th
Friday: 1:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Dulles Expo Center
4320 Chantilly Shopping Center
Chantilly, VA 20153


Wrapping Up
As always, you can reach out to Maryland Shall Issue from our website, social media, or at  for any other questions and help you may need. Joining MSI will ensure that you are kept up-to-date on the happenings in Annapolis and supporting what we're doing to protect, promote, and restore the self-defense rights of Marylanders. Again, you can follow all of the bills this session by bookmarking and checking

MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Partial Opposition to SB10 "Election Law – Polling Sites – Firearms Prohibitions" as Passed by the Senate

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SB10 was amended before passing the Senate. Our testimony below is on this version of the bill. You can read our previous testimony on SB10 HERE.

This bill would amend MD Code, Election Law, §16-904, to provide that a person may not “CARRY OR POSSESS A FIREARM WITHIN 100 FEET OF A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION.”  Second, the bill provides that a person may not “CARRY OR DISPLAY A FIREARM ON THE PREMISES OF A PRIVATELY OR PUBLICLY OWNED BUILDING BEING USED AS A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION, INCLUDING IN A PARKING LOT.” This provision, along with the ban on possession within 100 feet of a polling site, creates literally dozens of new gun-free zones, including in privately owned buildings. Nothing in the bill would mandate or authorize armed security for such polling places. A violation of the bill is punished as a civil infraction under which a $5,000 fine may be assessed against the violator under MD Code, Election Law, § 13-604. That fine may be imposed even though the person commits a violation “without knowing that the act is illegal.” MD Code, Election Law, § 13-604(a). The bill thus imposes strict liability for otherwise innocent conduct without regard to the person’s knowledge of the law or intent. No mens rea is required.

The Senate amended the original bill with important changes in a new subsection “C” which provides an exemption where (I) THE INDIVIDUAL IS LEGALLY IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM; (II) THE RESIDENCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL IS WITHIN 100 FEET OF A PRIVATELY OR PUBLICLY OWNED BUILDING BEING USED AS A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION; AND (III) THE INDIVIDUAL IS TRANSFERRING THE FIREARM TO THE INDIVIDUAL’S RESIDENCE OR VEHICLE WITHIN 100 FEET OF A POLLING PLACE. The bill is also amended, as enacted by the Senate to permit an off-duty police officer to carry a concealed weapon if that officer is displaying his badge.

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MDGA 2021: MSI Testimony in Opposition to HB175 - Ammunition - Sales and Transfers

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Image by Lunde Studio


The Bill

For the first time in the history of Maryland, this bill attempts to impose a vast regulatory regime on the sale of ordinary ammunition in Maryland. First in a newly minted Section 5-703 of the Public Safety Article of the Maryland Code, the bill would require every ammunition vendor to confirm the identity of every would-be purchaser by demand government issued identification. Next, the bill would command the vendor to “CONDUCT A BACKGROUND CHECK ON THE PURCHASER OR TRANSFEREE THROUGH THE NICS INDEX.” In a newly minted Section 5-704, the bill would impose electronic record-keeping requirements on the vendor and on the Maryland State Police by requiring the vendor to report to the State Police the date of the or transfer, the purchaser’s identification number, the “brand, type and amount” of ammunition purchased, the purchaser’s full name and signature, and the purchaser’s full address, date of birth and telephone number and finally, the name of the salesperson who made the sale. Any violation of these and other provisions of the bill would be a civil offense subject to a fine of “not less than $1,000 for each violation.” The bill would also exempt from its requirements sales to persons holding a Handgun Qualification License and sales to active Maryland and federal law enforcement officers.

A. The Bill Requires A Patently Illegal NICS Background Check On Ammunition Sales

As noted, this bill requires a vendor to conduct a NICS check for each and every sale of ordinary ammunition. That requirement is flatly illegal under controlling federal law. The NICS system is run by the FBI, as required by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, Public Law 103-159, 107 Stat. 1536 (1993), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(t). The Maryland State Police is a FBI-approved, Point of Contact agency for NICS checks for handgun sales in Maryland. Under federal law, the federal NICS system may be used to institute a background check only on actual transfers of firearms that are regulated by the Brady Act. Furthermore, under federal law, only federally licensed firearm licensees (FFLs) and designated Point of Contract State agencies are permitted access to the NICS system. No other vendor, or person or agency may have access to the NICS system under federal law. See 28 C.F.R. §25.1, et seq. While a federal license is required to engage in the business of importing or manufacturing ammunition, 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(B), no federal license is required simply to sell ordinary small arms ammunition. 28 C.F.R. § 478.41. See (“A license is not required for a dealer in ammunition only.”). Such non-licensed vendors of ammunition typically include hardware stores and small businesses, especially in rural areas. Because these vendors are not FFLs they do not have any access to the NICS system.

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MDGA 2021: MSI Testimony in Opposition to HB1291 - Untraceable Firearms

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The Bill:

The bill would create a massive new gun ban on the possession, receipt, sale, transfer or purchase of un-serialized lower receivers and frames and well as imposing the same ban on mere “objects” that are marketed, advertised or designed to be manufactured into such unfinished lower receivers or frames. It would ban as well the manufacture or assembly of a firearm or a receiver that was not “imprinted” with a serial number by a federally licensed manufacturer or importer.

A. Homemade Guns Are Rarely Used In Crime And Existing Owners Are Law-Abiding Hobbyists, Not Criminals

These new provisions, if enacted, would burden and penalize a harmless activity that has been perfectly legal under federal and state law for the entire history of the United States, viz., the manufacture of homemade guns for personal use. Under Federal law, a person may legally manufacture a firearm for his own personal use. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(a). However, “it is illegal to transfer such weapons in any way.” Defense Distributed v. United States, 838 F.3d 451, 454 (5th Cir. 2016). This manufacture “involves starting with an ‘80% lower receiver,’ which is simply an unfinished piece of metal that looks quite a bit like a lower receiver but is not legally considered one and may therefore be bought and sold freely. It requires additional milling and other work to turn into a functional lower receiver.” (Id).

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MDGA 2021: MSI Testimony in Opposition to HB773 - Firearms Telematics

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The Bill:

This bill would require the Handgun Roster Board to study and make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning the feasibility of “FIREARM TELEMATICS” which the bill defines to mean “AN ELECTRONIC SENSOR OR EQUIPMENT INSTALLED ON A FIREARM DESIGNED TO TRACK THE LOCATION OF THE FIREARM IF IT BECOMES LOST OR STOLEN.” By assigning the study to the Handgun Roster Board, it is evident that the underlying intent of the bill is to ban the sale of handguns that lacked such “telematics.”  Indeed, the bill contemplates such equipment for “PREVIOUSLY MANUFACTURED FIREARMS,” thus suggesting that such a telematics requirement could be imposed on existing owners of handguns.

The Bill Is Pointless As, Under the Fourth Amendment, Telematics Devices May Not Be

Installed Without A Search Warrant Based On Probable Cause Of A Crime:

The Supreme Court has made clear in recent decisions that the use of tracking devices, including the very types of devices that this bill contemplates, violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. In United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), the Supreme Court held that the government’s attachment of the GPS device to a vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment, requiring a search warrant. Such a search, the Court ruled, was a “trespassory intrusion on property.” (565 U.S. at 414). Justice Sotomayor concurred, stating flatly that “[w]hen the Government physically invades personal property to gather information, a search occurs.” Id. Such a search requires that the government obtain a judicial warrant based on probable cause of a crime.

The Court’s decision in Jones was followed by Carpenter v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 2206 (2018). There, the Supreme Court concluded that the Fourth Amendment was violated by the warrantless search of cell phone records held by third parties (wireless carriers) of a person’s physical movements as captured by cell-site location information. Relying on the principles recognized in Jones, the Court held that “[w]hether the Government employs its own surveillance technology as in Jones or leverages the technology of a wireless carrier, we hold that an individual maintains a legitimate expectation of privacy in the record of his physical movements as captured through [cell-site location information].” (138 S.Ct. at 2217).

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MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Support of SB560 - Theft of a Handgun

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The Bill 

The purpose of this bill is to provide for greatly enhanced penalties for the theft of a firearm. Under current law, theft of a firearm is treated just like the theft of any other piece of personal property. For example, under MD Code Criminal Law § 7-104(g)(2), “a person convicted of theft of property or services with a value of at least $100 but less than $1,500, is guilty of a misdemeanor and: (i) is subject to: 1. for a first conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $500 or both; and 2. for a second or subsequent conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $500 or both. The bill would change these penalties for theft of a firearm to a felony and would impose, on the first offense, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and/or a fine of $1,000. Subsequent offenses are punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500. These punishments are similar to the provisions enacted last year (2020) by the Senate in SB 35 which likewise made theft of a firearm a felony and punished such theft with imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of $10,000. SB 35 further required the thief to restore the firearm to the owner or pay the owner the value of the firearm.

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MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Opposition to SB624/HB638 - Untraceable and Undetectable Firearms



The Bills

Covert guns: The bill would ban “COVERT FIREARMS,” which are defined as A FIREARM THAT IS CONSTRUCTED IN A SHAPE OR CONFIGURATION THAT A REASONABLE PERSON WOULD NOT IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZE TO BE A FIREARM.” The bill would also ban “UNDETECTABLE FIREARMS,” which is defined by reference to an undefined “security exemplar,” or by reference to those firearms which cannot be detected by an x-ray machine “COMMONLY USED AT AIRPORTS.”

Serial numbers: Next, the bill would enact a whole regulatory system for regulating a “unfinished frame or receiver” which the bill defines as “A PRODUCT THAT IS INTENDED OR DESIGNED TO SERVE AS THE FRAME OR RECEIVER, INCLUDING THE LOWER RECEIVER, OF A FIREARM, BUT IS IN AN UNFINISHED STATE OF MANUFACTURE,” including a “BLANK CASTING, OR MACHINED BODY THAT REQUIRES MODIFICATION, SUCH AS MACHINING, DRILLING, FILING, OR MOLDING, TO BE USED AS PART OF A FUNCTIONAL FIREARM.” The bill provides that after January 1, 2022, a person “MAY NOT POSSESS A FIREARM OR AN UNFINISHED FRAME OR RECEIVER THAT HAS NOT BEEN MARKED” in accordance with the standards specified in the bill. The bill would further provide that, on or after January 1, 2022:





A. Homemade Guns Are Rarely Used In Crime And Existing Owners Are Law-Abiding Hobbyists, Not Criminals

These new provisions, if enacted, would burden and penalize a harmless activity that has been perfectly legal under federal and state law for the entire history of the United States, viz., the manufacture of homemade guns for personal use. Under Federal law, a person may legally manufacture a firearm for his own personal use. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(a). However, “it is illegal to transfer such weapons in any way.” Defense Distributed v. United States, 838 F.3d 451, 454 (5th Cir. 2016). This manufacture “involves starting with an ‘80% lower receiver,’ which is simply an unfinished piece of metal that looks quite a bit like a lower receiver but is not legally considered one and may therefore be bought and sold freely. It requires additional milling and other work to turn into a functional lower receiver.” (Id).

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Background Check Bill Veto Overridden

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Yesterday, the House narrowly voted to override Governor Hogan's veto of 2020's SB208, which criminalizes the private sale and transfer of long guns. 85 votes were needed to override and 88 unwisely chose to do so. Now that SB208 has been overridden in both chambers, the bill will go into effect in 30 days (on March 13, 2021). Why? Article II, Section 17 (d) of the Maryland Constitution states:
  • Any Bill vetoed by the Governor shall be returned to the House in which it originated immediately after the House has organized at the next regular or special session of the General Assembly. The Bill may then be reconsidered according to the procedure specified in this section. Any Bill enacted over the veto of the Governor, or any Bill which shall become law as the result of the failure of the Governor to act within the time specified, shall take effect 30 days after the Governor's veto is over-ridden, or on the date specified in the Bill, whichever is later.
Starting on March 13th, 2021, private sales and permanent transfers between residents of long guns will need to be facilitated by an FFL at your cost. To be clear, this bill does not require licensing or involve the Maryland State Police. You can thank our prior advocacy for that. Rather, it makes it a criminal act to permanently transfer ownership of a long gun to another unless a NICS check is performed by an FFL. The new law DOES NOT APPLY to transfers in ANY of these circumstances:
  • Between "immediate family members" (defined as a spouse, a parent, a stepparent, a grandparent, a stepgrandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a sibling, a stepsibling, a child, a stepchild, a grandchild, a stepgrandchild, a niece, or a nephew, as related by blood or marriage)
  • Involving law enforcement and military acting within the scope of their official duties
  • Between licensed collectors of Curio and Relics
  • Of an unserviceable long gun sold, rented, or transferred as a curio or museum piece
  • Between those with demonstrable religious beliefs against having photographs taken of them and who does not possess a license or an identification card of any kind with photographic identification
  • A transfer that occurs by operation of law on the death of a person for whom the transferee is an executor, an administrator, a trustee, or a personal representative of an estate or a trust created in a will
  • A temporary gratuitous loan of a rifle or shotgun (unless the transferor has reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is a prohibited person).
Join MSI in thanking every lawmaker who voted to sustain Governor Hogan's veto (and to him for his veto!). Special thanks go to Senators Hough, Ready, Cassilly, Carozza, and Simonaire, and Delegates Hornberger, Beitzel, Arikan, Cox, Shoemaker, Ghrist, Mautz, and Buckel for all eloquently speaking in support of Marylanders rights. All of the votes are recorded in our tracker HERE.  We encourage everyone to communicate (civilly) with their representatives on how they feel about the representative's vote. 

Advocacy isn't limited to the 90 days our legislature meets. It is a constant effort and those who do not understand gun ownership or the rights of others do not sleep. Educate your lawmakers. Educate your friends. Advocacy does make a difference.  Don't be a free rider!

The General Assembly is still in session! You can keep track of all the gun bills at

MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Opposition to SB479/HB200

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The Bills:

These bills would amend MD Code, Criminal Law, § 4-104. Specifically, current law provides that “[a] person may not store or leave a loaded firearm in a location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised child would gain access to the firearm.” A child is defined for these purposes as a person “under the age of 16 years.” This bill would change the definition of a child to a person under the age of 18 years and modifies the prohibition to provide that a “person may not store or leave a loaded OR UNLOADED firearm in a location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised child COULD gain access to the firearm.” The bill will likewise repeal the exception in existing law that allows a child to have access to firearms if the child has a certificate of firearm and hunter safety issued under § 16 10–301.1 of the Natural Resources Article. Instead, for minors under the age of 18 and who have the hunter safety certificate, the bill allows access to a rifle or a shotgun if the minor has been given express permission by a parent. That access is permitted, however, only if the person who stores or leaves the firearm stores the firearm unloaded and stores the ammunition “in a secure location where a minor could not reasonably gain access to the ammunition.” Finally, the bill provides an exception if “THE FIREARM IS LEFT OR STORED UNLOADED AND HAS BEEN RENDERED INOPERABLE TO ANYONE OTHER THAN AN ADULT.” The bill does not define “access” or “could” or “inoperable.”

The bills also change the punishment for a violation of Section 4-104. Current law punishes a violation as “a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000.” No prison time is imposed under current law. The bills would create three new layers of offense with increasing punishments, including prison time for each layer. Merely leaving a LOADED or UNLOADED firearm in a “location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised MINOR COULD gain access to the firearm,” is punishable with 90 days imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. At the next level, leaving a LOADED or UNLOADED firearm in a “location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised MINOR COULD gain access to the firearm,” and the minor actually gains access is punishable with 2 years of imprisonment and a fine of $2,500. And, at the final level, leaving a LOADED or UNLOADED firearm in a “location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised MINOR COULD gain access to the firearm,” and “THE FIREARM CAUSES HARM TO THE MINOR OR TO ANOTHER PERSON” is punishable with 5 years of imprisonment and a fine of $5,000.


Youth Hunting:

As noted, the bills repeal the exception found in current law for a child with a State-issued hunter safety certificate and substitutes an extremely awkward language. Specifically, the bill imposes an ammunition access restriction on the person (including the minor) who leaves or stores the rifle or shotgun, requiring that such person store the ammunition in such a way that “MINOR COULD NOT REASONABLY GAIN ACCESS TO THE AMMUNITION.” Under this provision, a minor is allowed access to a rifle or shotgun for legitimate purposes (such as hunting) with parental consent, but is not allowed access to the ammunition for that firearm. The bill thus allows the minor (as a “person”) to store the firearm, as long as the firearm is unloaded. Yet, the minor is criminally liable if he or she fails to store the ammunition in the “secure location” where he or she “could not” gain access. That result is little short of bizarre. The bill expressly exempts from its coverage a minor’s access to a rifle and shotgun if he or she has a hunter safety certificate and has permission. Yet, that same minor must then store ammunition in a way to make it inaccessible to himself or herself! Plainly, if a particular minor with a hunter safety certificate is permitted access to the firearm for legitimate purposes, then that minor should likewise be allowed to access the ammunition for the very firearms he or she is allowed to access. After all, a rifle or shotgun is useless for legitimate purposes (e.g., hunting or varmint control) without ammunition. Yet, that access to ammunition is not allowed by this bill. The bill thus imposes nonsense restrictions on ammunition.

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Testify Against SB479

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Your voices are needed in opposition against the two most dangerous gun bills introduced in Maryland since the Firearms Safety Act of 2013. SB479 and HB200 mandate storage requirements that would effectively make each and every gun-owning Marylander a criminal and vulnerable to discriminatory enforcement.

Read SB479 at:  We will be posting our testimony on February 8, 2021. You can read that testimony at the MSI bill tracker at  

Submit Written Testimony and Signup in Opposition (Unfavorable) on Tuesday 2/9 between 8am and 3pm with your MyMGA Account. Find more information at the links at the top of this message.

SB479 and HB 200 would change the definition of a child to mean a person under the age of 18 years and modifies the prohibition to provide that a “person may not store or leave a loaded OR UNLOADED firearm in a location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised child COULD gain access to the firearm.” Under this provision, it simply does not matter if the firearm was locked up. All that matters is whether a person under the age of 18 "could" gain access. It doesn't matter whether a child is part of your family or even whether children are never in your house. In the dictionary, "could" is defined as something that is merely "possible." Thus, in other words, if it is "possible" that a 17-year-old, any 17-year-old, anywhere, "could" gain access to your gun safe, you are then a criminal. The gun owner is charged literally knowing all things possible with respect to access by a 17-year-old. The possibilities for discriminatory and arbitrary enforcement are endless. The first offense is punishable by 90-days in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. The second offense is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine. And any subsequent offense is punishable by up to 3 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine, and is thus a life-time disqualifying crime under State and Federal law.

The bills will likewise repeal the exception in existing law that allows a child to have access to firearms if the child has a certificate of firearm and hunter safety issued by the State. Instead, for minors under the age of 18 and who have the hunter safety certificate, the bills allow access to a rifle or a shotgun if the minor has been given express permission by a parent. That access is permitted, however, only if the person who stores or leaves the firearm stores the firearm unloaded and stores the ammunition “in a secure location where a minor could not reasonably gain access to the ammunition.” In short, a minor with a hunter safety certification may have access to a rifle or shotgun with permission but still is denied access to the ammunition. It is hard to hunt without ammunition. Finally, the bills provide an exception if “THE FIREARM IS LEFT OR STORED UNLOADED AND HAS BEEN RENDERED INOPERABLE TO ANYONE OTHER THAN AN ADULT.”  It is difficult if not impossible to think of a firearm that could be rendered "inoperable" to a 17-year-old, but is still "operable" to an 18-year-old. In short, there is no safe harbor in this bill.  We all become criminals the day this bill if enacted, goes into effect. 

Your voices and opinions are needed if we are to stop or affect these bills! Pass this along to any gun owners you know.  Signup to testify and submit WRITTEN TESTIMONY against SB479 this Tuesday (Feb. 9) between 8am and 3pm. You CANNOT signup earlier or later than these times and you MUST have a MyMGA account in order to do so. There is no guarantee that you will be able to verbally testify so your written testimony will be more important than ever. Written testimony must include your name, address, contact info and state your position (Unfavorable of course for SB479).

THIS DOES NOT REPLACE TESTIMONY, but you can ask the Judicial Proceedings committee for an unfavorable report with the info HERE.

The crossfiled bill, HB200 is not being heard until March 1st in the Judiciary Committee, but the signup window for testimony for that bill will open up on 2/26 at 8am to 3pm. Your testimony against that bill is just as important.

MSI will not let any legislation that harms gun owners go unchallenged, but we cannot fight these bills alone. Don't be a free rider! Join or Donate to MSI. 

MEANWHILE, last year's SB208 (HB4) is scheduled for a veto override this Tuesday the 9th. Find your elected officials HERE ( and urge them to SUSTAIN Governor Hogan's veto. If this bill does become law, the private sale and transfer of long guns will be made criminal for the first time in Maryland's long history. Any such transfers would need to be facilitated by an FFL at your cost. You can read our testimony from last year against this bill HERE.

The General Assembly is still in session for more than 60 days. You can keep track of all the gun bills at

MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Support of SB27 and HB845 - Public Safety - Permit to Carry, Wear, or Transport a Handgun - Qualifications



This bill would amend MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306(b)(6)(ii) to specify that “self-protection,” or “self-defense” is a basis for finding a “good and substantial” reason for the issuance of a Maryland Wear and Carry Permit. The bills leave unaltered the rest of Section 5-306, including leaving unchanged the rigorous training requirements of 16 hours of instruction that includes a live fire component that “demonstrates the applicant’s proficiency and use of the firearm.” Also unchanged is the requirement that the State Police conduct a background investigation using the applicant’s fingerprints, and the requirement that the State Police find that the applicant “has not exhibited a propensity for violence or instability that may reasonably render the person’s possession of a handgun a danger to the person or to another,” found at § 5-306(b)(6)(ii).

Stated briefly, there are powerful reasons to enact this bill into law. Section 5-306, as administered by the State Police, is unconstitutional without these amendments. The Maryland requirement of a “good and substantial reason” is on borrowed time in the courts, including in a pending case challenging Maryland’s law. Should Maryland lose in such litigation, the attorneys’ fees award against Maryland under 42 U.S.C. §1988, will prove quite expensive. Moreover, as John Hopkins University’s most recent study (attached) documents, illegal carry by otherwise law-abiding citizens for self-defense is very common in Baltimore. These individuals should be accorded an opportunity to carry legally, so as to obtain the training and legal instruction presently mandated by Maryland law. The amendments to Maryland’s law in this bill would make that possible. As explained below, the status quo in Baltimore is utterly untenable.

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MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Partial Opposition to HB450 and SB10 - Election Law – Polling Sites – Firearms Prohibitions

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❌ HB450
❌ SB10

This bill would amend MD Code, Election Law, §16-904, to provide that that a person may not “CARRY OR POSSESS A FIREARM WITHIN 100 FEET OF A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION.” That provision does not require a “knowing” possession and would appear to ban mere possession (including mere constructive possession) of a firearm in a person’s own home if the home happens to fall within 100 feet of a polling site. The bill is thus overbroad. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Supreme Court held that citizens have the right to possess operative handguns for self-defense in the home. Heller also made clear that the right belongs to every “law-abiding, responsible citizen[]”). Heller 554 U.S. at 635.

The Second Amendment “elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”Heller, 554 U.S. at 635. The rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment are fundamental and are, therefore, applicable to the States by incorporation under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. See McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, 768 (2010) (“[c]itizens must be permitted to use handguns for the core lawful purpose of self-defense”). The bill is also overbroad in that it would reach possession by persons with Maryland carry permits or persons who are simply on the way to the range or otherwise permitted location or activity, as specified in Md. Code, Criminal Law, §4-203(b), and who just happen to walk or drive by within 100 feet of a polling place. We respectfully suggest that the bill be amended to except from the bill’s coverage these types of possessions.

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MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Support with Amendments of SB15 - Firearms - Handgun Permit - Notice of Expiration and Renewal Instructions

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✅ SB15

This bill simply directs the Maryland State Police to “mail a postcard that provides written notice of a handgun permit’s impending expiration and the instructions on how to submit a renewal handgun permit application online through the Maryland State Police Licensing Portal to a holder of a handgun permit at least 60 days before the expiration of the permit if: (1) the holder of the handgun permit filed a paper handgun permit application; and (2) the paper handgun permit application was filed on or before October 1, 11 2019.” We support this bill with two amendments. The first amendment is that the notice be sent by email or regular mail. That amendment is offered because MD Code, General Provisions, § 4-325 makes this information confidential. Specifically, Section 4-325(a) provides that the State Police shall “deny inspection of all records of a person authorized to: * * * (2) carry, wear, or transport a handgun under Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the Public Safety Article.” Section 4-325(b) expressly limits access to this information to the person named in the record or the person’s attorney. A “postcard” containing the notice specified in the bill simply does not provide the necessary security contemplated by these provisions. We suggest, therefore, that the bill be amended to provide that the notice be sent via email, rather than by postcard. With this amendment, we support this bill.

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MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Support of SB221 - Handgun Qualification License - Firearms Safety Training

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✅ SB221

The HQL Statute and the Bill:

This bill would amend MD Code, Public Safety, 5-117.1 (HQL statute). That Section prohibits law-abiding, responsible Maryland citizens from acquiring a handgun unless they have a Handgun Qualification License (“HQL”). Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety, § 5-117.1(c). Subsection (d) imposes training requirements, including a (i) a minimum of 4 hours of instruction by a qualified handgun instructor” consisting of “(ii) classroom instruction on: 1. State firearm law; 2. home firearm safety; 3. handgun mechanisms and operation; and (iii) a firearms orientation component that demonstrates the person’s safe operation and handling of a firearm.” In regulations, the Maryland State Police have added a new and additional live-fire training requirement, mandating that the HQL applicant “safely fires at least one round of live ammunition.” COMAR That live round requirement is not found in the statute.

In the interests of full disclosure, we note that the live-fire requirement, along with the rest of the HQL statute, is presently being challenged by MSI in federal court. See MSI v. Hogan, 2017 WL 3891705 (D. MD. 2017) (denying the State’s motion to dismiss). The district court, in a later decision, held that the plaintiffs lacked standing without reaching the merits of the constitutionality of the HQL statute. That decision was very recently reversed on appeal. See MSI v. Hogan, 971 F.3d 199 (4th Cir. 2020). Further proceedings are now being conducted in district court on remand. On the merits, we believe that it is highly likely that the Supreme Court will, in an appropriate case, soon make clear that the “text, history and tradition” test is controlling in determining the constitutionality of gun control legislation – not tiers of scrutiny. Four members of the Supreme Court recently employed this very approach in NY State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. City of New York, 140 S.Ct. 1525 (2020), where a majority of the Court held that the case was mooted by the repeal of the offending City of New York ordinance, but the concurring Justice and the three dissenting Justices discussed the merits in separate opinions. See Id. at 1526 (Kavanaugh, J.) (concurring in judgment of mootness, but agreeing with Justice Alito’s discussion of Heller and McDonald on the merits; Id. at 1540-41 (Alito, J., joined by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch, dissenting from the judgment of mootness but noting further on the merits that the City’s ordinance violated the Second Amendment under Heller and McDonald). Justice Thomas made the same point very recently in another case. Rogers, et al. v. Grewal, 140 S.Ct.1865, 1868 (2020) (Thomas, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari). See also Heller v. District of Columbia (i.e. “Heller II”), 670 F.3d 1244, 1269 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (Kavanaugh, J., dissenting) (“In my view, Heller and McDonald leave little doubt that courts are to assess gun bans and regulations based on text, history, and tradition, not by a balancing test such as strict or intermediate scrutiny.”).

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Montgomery County Residents, YOUR VOICES ARE NEEDED

Bill 4-21 threatens every gun owner in Montgomery County. Your testimony against this bill is needed before the Montgomery County Council!

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The Montgomery County Council will hold a public hearing on Bill 4-21, "Weapons - Protection of Minors and Public Places - Restrictions Against Ghost Guns and Undetectable Guns" (bill text is HERE) on February 9th at 1:30pm (tentative date). Among other things, the bill would criminalize possession of gun parts virtually everywhere within the county, including your own home. It'd likewise penalize the possession of computer code and restrict what parents and other adults may teach or show their children. Current State law allows business owners and supervisory employees to possess a firearm at their business without a carry permit. Yet, this bill would ban that right completely, requiring these businessmen and women to obtain a carry permit just in order to possess any firearm (not merely a ghost gun) anywhere in their business premises.  We've seen a lot of bad and dangerous legislation over the years, but this is easily among the worst. For a more in-depth look at just how terrible this bill is, read our testimony against Bill 4-21 HERE.

MSI will not let this bill go unchallenged, but stopping the bill from becoming law requires individuals to step up and be heard. We cannot do this alone! It is imperative that the residents of Montgomery County tell the Council how this bill will affect their lives. SIGNUP TO TESTIFY HERE. Be sure to fill in your information, the hearing's date of 02/09/2021, and enter Bill 4-21 in the Hearing Topic field as pictured below.

You can either upload a document or record a video no longer than 3 minutes in length. The rules for submitting testimony are on the right-hand portion of the signup page. Don't assume that enactment is a foregone conclusion. Testify to persuade. Some tips:
  • Remember that you're an ambassador for the 2nd Amendment. Civility is a necessity. 
  • Briefly introduce yourself and where you're from.
  • Respectfully speak your mind.
  • Drive home how the bill personally affects you.
  • Use your personal experiences and expertise to advocate from positions of strength. 
  • If you are doing a video, dress in a manner appropriate for the occasion.
We will continue to keep everyone up-to-date on developments. If this bill becomes law, we will need individuals (residents of Montgomery County) who are willing to step forward and be plaintiffs in order to challenge it in court. For more information, email us at . Stay tuned.

Testimony in Opposition to Montgomery County Bill 4-21 - "Weapons – Protection of Minors and Public Places - Restrictions Against Ghost Guns and Undetectable Guns"

Montgomery County Council Bill Page

Bill Text as Introduced

The hearing for Bill 4-21 is scheduled for February 9th at 1:30pm

February 9, 2021


I am the President of Maryland Shall Issue (“MSI”). Maryland Shall Issue is an all-volunteer, non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of gun owners’ rights in Maryland. It seeks to educate the community about the right of self-protection, the safe handling of firearms, and the responsibility that goes with carrying a firearm in public. I am also an attorney and an active member of the Bar of the District of Columbia and the Bar of Maryland. I recently retired from the United States Department of Justice, where I practiced law for 33 years in the Courts of Appeals of the United States and in the Supreme Court of the United States. I am an expert in Maryland firearms Law, federal firearms law and the law of self-defense. I am also a Maryland State Police certified handgun instructor for the Maryland Wear and Carry Permit and the Maryland Handgun Qualification License and a certified NRA instructor in rifle, pistol and personal protection in the home, personal protection outside the home, muzzle loading as well as a range safety officer. I write in OPPOSITION TO BILL 4-21. For the reasons set forth below, this bill is preempted by State law and, if enacted, would be violative of the First Amendment and the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The Council would be well-advised to stay its hand and allow the General Assembly take the lead in these matters.

The Bill Is Preempted:

State law, MD Code, Criminal Law, § 4-209, broadly preempts “the right of a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district to regulate the purchase, sale, taxation, transfer, manufacture, repair, ownership, possession, and transportation of:(1) a handgun, rifle, or shotgun; and (2) ammunition for and components of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun.” The statute provides, as an exception, that the locality may regulate these subject matters ‘(i) with respect to minors; (ii) with respect to law enforcement officials of the subdivision; and (iii) except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, within 100 yards of or in a park, church, school, public building, and other place of public assembly.”

This bill violates Section 4-209 in multiple ways. First, and perhaps most egregiously, the bill defines a place of public assembly to include “a place where the public may assemble, whether the place is publicly or privately owned.” The bill thus defines public “assembly” as a privately or publically owned place where people “may assemble” and is thus utterly circular. It includes places where persons “may” assemble, not merely places where people do assemble or even regularly assemble. It could thus include any place, private or public, that people “may” assemble in the unknowable future. 

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MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony on SB190 and HB415 - Firearms – Right to Purchase, Possess, and Carry – Use of Medical Cannabis

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While different (HB 415 is more extensive), both bills provide that “a person may not be denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm under this title solely on the basis that the person” is authorized to use medical cannabis under title 13, subtitle 33 of the Health – General Article of Maryland law. Like similar bills in the past, MSI takes no position with respect to the merits of these bills. However, as before, we do wish to point out some legal realities for purposes of informing the debate on these bills.

Read SB190

Read HB415

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MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Support of SB309 - Handgun Permit - Preliminary Approval

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Firearms Safety Act of 2013 requires that a person complete a 16-hour training course, taught by a State certified instructor, “prior to application” for a carry permit. MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306(a)(5). Senate Bill 309 would amend Section 5-306 to delete the requirement that the training be completed “prior to application.” It then provides that a person may file an initial application for a wear and carry permit without completing the training and directs that the State Police to issue a preliminary approval if the person is otherwise qualified for the permit. The person then has 120 days after receipt of the preliminary approval to furnish the State Police the certificate of training otherwise required by the regulations. A permit does not issue until that training certificate is provided. If no certificate of training is provided, the State Police are directed to revoke the preliminary approval and deny the permit application.

Read SB309

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Latest News

The Dangers of Maryland's Carry Laws

On August 12, 2021, Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that a violation of Md. Criminal Law § 4-203(a)(1)(i) is a strict liability crime. Put simply, if one has a handgun on or about them and is not authorized to do so, they are guilty of violating the law. The case is Lawrence v. State, 471 Md. 101 (2021).

Section 4-203 is the statute that broadly prohibits the wear, carry, or transport of handguns within the State. Specifically, § 4-203(a)(1)(i) states:

 (a)    (1)    Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a person may not:

            (i)    wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person;

There are a few exceptions to this ban (found in subsection (b) of Section 4-203), such as one having a Maryland Wear and Carry Permit, possession in the home or business (by the business owner), or when transporting an unloaded handgun (kept in an enclosed case or enclosed holster) between a gun shop and one's residence or from their residence to a gun range. But, outside these sharply limited exceptions set out in subsection (b), the passage above otherwise broadly criminalizes having a pistol on (or about) the person. 

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MSI v. Montgomery County Update

On June 16, 2021, we filed an emergency motion for partial summary judgment on three of our counts against Montgomery County's enactment of Bill 4-21. The motion seeks to enjoin the County from enforcing their new illegal laws which will go into effect on July 16th without action from the Court. Find the motion HERE and the memorandum in support HERE. As we have stated previously, we will not sit idle while politicians make criminals of ordinary and law-abiding residents. You can learn more and find updates about this case at

Taking these challenges is not possible without your support! Consider becoming a member of MSI, donating, or wearing MSI apparel or picking up our accessories.

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

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

Phone:  410-849-9197