MGA2019: Testimony in Opposition to SB1000 and HB1343 - Public Safety - Handgun Permit Review Board - Repeal
The Handgun Permit Review Board serves as civilian oversight of Maryland State Police decisions on applications for carry permits and modifications to existing permits. Removal of the Board will mean that the only recourse applicants would have from arbitrary State Police decisions would be an appeal to an administrative law judge for formal trial-type proceedings. As a practical matter, that means you would need a lawyer and that is expensive. The State Police know that, of course, so the elimination of the Board is simply part of their overall strategy of discouraging applications and appeals.
These bills would repeal MD Code Public Safety § 5-302 to eliminate the Handgun Permit Review Board established by that section. Under that Section, the Board consists of five persons appointed by the Governor. The bill would also amend 5–312 of the Public Safety Article to provide appeals from decisions concerning a handgun carry permit would be only to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), an administrative body which employs administrative law judges to conduct trial-type hearings in disputes over agency decisions. These bills must be considered in the greater context of the law and the facts associated with carry permits in Maryland. Thus viewed, the bills are misguided and uninformed.