2020 MDGA - Testimony in Support of SB506

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 506 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. 

This bill makes sense.  Indeed, this same bill passed the House of Delegates in 2017 as HB 1036 and that bill was reported out this Committee with a favorable report.  The bill only failed to become law because time ran out at sine die.  The bill is not materially different than the bill that has already passed the House and this Committee. 

To be clear, as was the case under HB 1036, the existing, very rigorous training requirements are not relaxed in the slightest under this bill and no permit is issued without a person satisfying those requirements. That training, however, is relatively hard to find and can be quite expensive, running from around $300 up to $600 for each person in a class. This high cost reflects the number of hours required and the mandatory live-fire course mandated by the State Police.  That live-fire requirement necessitates access to a range, which are relatively few in number in Maryland and most commonly privately owned and operated.  Many, if not most, instructors require a minimum number of persons in a class, typically ten, and classes are not held until that minimum number of persons actually sign up for the class. For these reasons, a person will need at least 120 days to find the course and secure training. This bill allows a person to apply without undergoing that initial and substantial expense, which would be completely wasted if the State Police were to determine that the person is not otherwise qualified for the permit. 

Other jurisdictions follow this same approach.  For example, California imposes a “good cause” requirement for a carry permit. See CA Penal Code 26202. That “good cause” requirement is quite similar to the Maryland “good and substantial reason” requirement imposed by MD Code Public Safety §5-306(a)(6)(ii).  California, like Maryland, likewise imposes a 16 hour training requirement.  CA Penal Code § 26165.  Yet, that same provision also provides that “[t]he applicant shall not be required to pay for any training courses prior to the determination of good cause being made pursuant to Section 26202.  See also Section 26202 (“If the licensing authority determines that good cause exists, the notice shall inform the applicants to proceed with the training requirements specified in Section 26165.”). 

 The District of Columbia and Delaware also follow this approach. See D.C. Mun. Regs. Tit. 24, § 2336.4 (“An applicant may submit to the Chief the application required under § 2337 without including the certificate of completion of training required by this section; provided that if the Chief preliminarily approves the application pursuant to §2339, the applicant has forty-five (45) days to submit the certificate of completion and successfully complete the range training”); 2 DE Code § 1441(e) (allowing a permit to be issued on an approved application after submission of a certificate of completion of the required training, but not establishing any firm deadline for such submission). 

There is no good reason why Maryland cannot give preliminary approval as contemplated by this bill. In 2017, the representative of the Maryland State Police testified that the State Police can accommodate this approach without a problem. See Video of Testimony by State Police on HB 162 before the House Judiciary Committee (Feb. 7, 2017), available at http://mgahouse.maryland.gov/mga/play/421c69fc-fd71-4351-bb1a-f78440aa18f4/?catalog/03e481c7-8a42-4438-a7da-93ff74bdaa4c&playfrom=1499000 (exchange with Del. Anderson, starting at 29.00 minutes).  This is just good government. We urge a favorable report. 

Sincerely,

Mark W. Pennak
President, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.

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Latest News

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.

 


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