Hogan Signs Gun Control Bills Into Law!

Governor Hogan disregarded our veto requests and has signed the Handun Permit Review Board Bill (HB 819) , and the “red flag” bill (HB 1302). As detailed in our veto letters to the Governor (the letter on HB 819 can be found HERE, and HB 1302 letter can be found HERE), both bills were bad, but the HB 1302 “red flag” bill was the worst.

Basically, under that bill as it became law, virtually anyone can ask a law enforcement officer to file an ex parte petition with a state district court judge or commissioner and allege that the gun owner poses an immediate danger to himself/herself or others because (and only because) he or she possesses firearms.  If the court issues the order, the police can show up on the doorstep and seize the person’s firearms without notice or warning.  HB 819 did not abolish the Board but added an additional layer of “de novo” review that allows either the applicant or the Maryland State Police to appeal the Board’s decision to the Office of Administrative Hearings for a new, de novo formal hearing before a state Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  That will give the MSP a second bite at the apple to appeal Board decisions they don’t like without going to court.  Decisions of the ALJ can then be appealed to the court. The bill also creates new time deadlines for the Board and the ALJ to hear cases.    

And that is not the only bad news.  The General Assembly passed and Governor Hogan signed into law SB707 (found HERE). which purports to ban bump stocks and other so-called "Rapid Fire Trigger Activators.  We testified against that bill (that testimony can be found HERE).  Our opposition and that of others did result in one significant amendment to the original bill, viz., the bill now makes clear that a Rapid Fire Trigger Activator does NOT include a "SEMIAUTOMATIC REPLACEMENT TRIGGER THAT IMPROVES THE PERFORMANCE AND FUNCTIONALITY OVER THE STOCK TRIGGER.”  The original bill was also amended at the last minute to exempt from its ban existing owners "APPLIED TO THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS, AND EXPLOSIVES BEFORE OCTOBER 1, 2018, FOR AUTHORIZATION TO POSSESS A RAPID FIRE TRIGGER ACTIVATOR” and "RECEIVED AUTHORIZATION TO POSSESS A RAPID FIRE TRIGGER ACTIVATOR FROM THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES BEFORE OCTOBER 1, 2019.”  We and others have checked and it seems the ATF will not accept any such requests for such “authorization.”  - See HERE  The ATF has confirmed the position in correspondence with MSI.  So “Catch 22” for existing owners.  The irony is rich, however, that this reality with the ATF also makes this new bump stock ban all the more open to legal attack under the Due Process Clause and the Takings Clauses of the Federal and Maryland Constitutions.  Any legal attack on the red flag bill will have to await a case in which it is abused as only such persons will have the standing to challenge it in federal court.  We are sure that this law will be abused in short order, just as similar gun seizure protective orders in domestic relations cases are often abused.  

There is some good news in the bullets we managed to dodge this year at the General Assembly.  For the second year running, the campus-carry ban (HB904) passed the House of Delegates but failed to become law when it was stranded in the Senate Rules Committee.  We strongly opposed that bill (opposition found HERE).  We also opposed HB 991 and its cross-filed twin, SB 1062 (Opposition found HERE) that would have banned the mere possession of any magazine that could hold more than 10 rounds.  Under current law (MD Code Criminal Law Section 4-305), a person may not manufacture, sell, offer for sale, purchase, receive, or transfer such magazines, but possession is not banned.  We also opposed successfully, for the third year running, the attempt to ban the possession of black powder guns by disqualified persons (HB 402 and SB 448), pointing out that such a ban would be hopelessly ineffective given that such guns are not even considered to be firearms under federal law. Of course, it is an election year, so all of the good the bills never made it out of committee.  The sole exception was Senator Hough’s and Delegate Rey’s bills (HB 29 and SB 27) that would have allowed a person to file an application for a carry permit without first obtaining the expensive 16 hours of training.  If that person received preliminary approval, the applicant could then get the training and the permit.  That bill passed the Senate almost unanimously (Senator Ramirez being the sole nay vote), but then was "Christmas treed” in the House with non-germane amendments by antis, forcing the sponsors to abandon the effort.  We will try again next year.  Not even the hardcore antis seriously oppose this “common sense” bill.  It is greatly frustrating that all the good bills that were submitted this year (and there were many) never made it out of committee.


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March Litigation Update and Other News



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!
 
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.
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

MSI Goes to the Supreme Court

    On December 21st, 2020, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari before the Supreme Court of United States in Maryland Shall Issue, Inc et al. v Hogan. Read the petition HERE.

Update 12/29/2020: The Supreme Court has docketed the case. https://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/20-855.html

Read more ...

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