Year in Review

  2020 has been a year that many would rather forget and for good reason.  But the need for advocacy in support of Second Amendment rights did not stop in 2020 and it will be no less urgent in 2021.  A year-in-review perspective is useful.


The 2020 Legislative Session
    As with most meetings of the Maryland General Assembly, this one was rife with attacks on your rights. There were bills that would have criminalized the possession of previously grandfathered "assault weapons," and banned certain classes of rifles, and homemade firearms. Other bills would have burdened most gun dealers into certain closure, sponsored a "buyback" of guns, and even a bill that would have investigated the feasibility of installing GPS trackers on privately-owned guns. MSI and its members came out in force against all of these bills and helped put a stop to them with thoughtful and stirring testimony. The clock ran out on most of the bad bills, but one did slip through. HB4/SB208, which criminalizes private transfers of long guns, did pass. Fortunately, Governor Hogan broke out his pen after the session to veto the legislation.  We have little doubt that some in the legislature would like to override this veto in this upcoming session, so please be prepared to support the veto with letters and calls to your legislators.  Likewise, be on the lookout for the same bills that didn't make it in 2020 to return soon in the 2021 legislative session.

    Keeping track of the 2020 General Assembly was immeasurably easier with the implementation of MSI's new sleek Bill Tracker for keeping up to date with the happenings in Annapolis. It was inspired by the Gun Case Tracker administered by Rob Romano with the Firearms Policy Coalition (we also proudly feature that tracker HERE). The tracker makes it easy to see what your representatives are up to and how to reach out to them. The tracker keeps "track" of legislators' attitude toward your rights, as measured by a "Rights Observance Score." The higher the number, the better. The lower... well, you know. All of the votes on the floor and in committee are preserved, as well as links to testimony and even info on how to testify. For a more in-depth look at the 2020 session, click HERE

Litigation
Maryland Shall Issue v Hogan (Takings)
    Maryland Shall Issue wasn't just busy in the political realm of lawmakers, but so too in the courts. In January at the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, VA, MSI President Mark Pennak argued our takings lawsuit against 2018's SB707, which criminalized the possession of bump stocks and "Rapid Fire Trigger Activators" without affording just compensation for the deprivations caused by the bill to existing owners.  In a split, 2-1 decision the Fourth Circuit sustained by the bill against our Takings claims but we've since filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari before the United States Supreme Court. The case has been docketed by the Court as No. 20-855.  A response from the State is due 03/29/2021, as extended.

Maryland Shall Issue v Hogan (HQL)
    As if that weren't enough, the President in May also argued against the Handgun Qualification License alongside co-counsel John Sweeney on behalf of Atlantic Guns. This appeal was also before the Fourth Circuit albeit this time via teleconference due to COVID-19. The court would later rule in our favor the parties had standing to challenge the HQL requirements  This is the FIRST win for any gun rights-related organization in the Fourth; big deal! The case was kicked back to the district court where litigation is ongoing.

Call v Jones
    But wait, there's more! In November, MSI was pleased to partner with the Firearms Policy Coalition, Second Amendment Foundation, and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as plaintiffs in a new challenge to MD's ban on carrying handguns in public. That case is making its way through the lower courts now.  While the suit recognizes that the Fourth Circuit's prior decision in Woollard had sustained the constitutionality of Maryland's "may issue" law, the point of the suit is to present this issue to the Supreme Court.  As we all know, the composition of the Supreme Court has changed since Woollard was decided and we are hopeful that the Court will agree to hear the case.  If successful, this suit would result in the end of MD's discriminatory may-issue carry permit scheme. 

FPC and SAF have also brought forward a new suit against MD's ban on common semi-automatic firearms and magazines, which MSI and others had previously litigated in Kolbe v Hogan. A legal doctrine called "res judicata" keeps MSI from being an actual party to this suit, but we enthusiastically support it.  As in Call v. Jones, this suit was brought so as to bring the issue to the Supreme Court.  We will bring you updates regarding these suits as they progress through the courts.

MSI's Growth and New Gun Owners
    This year has seen a deluge of interest in gun ownership across the country and among people of all walks of life. The "people" of the United States have a renewed understanding of the need for self-defense. The trend has been even more notable in MD. MSI members and volunteers have been very busy welcoming members to the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore and taking these new gun owners to the range. A simple friendly conversation about guns and 2A rights and a fun day can be all it takes to create a new ally in defense of everyone's rights.  Many of you have been doing just that. When lawmakers introduce bills that attempt to further criminalize gun owners, it is these newly educated citizens that they'll have to answer to.

    The organization grew substantially this year and we welcomed outstanding new volunteers into leadership roles. We launched The Good and Substantial Podcast across all major streaming platforms (stay tuned for more) and have kept a steady presence on social media. Local and national press repeatedly engaged with our President and we've seen coverage of happenings here in MD across the gun blogosphere. A great deal of this all has been due to the hard work of MSI's volunteers!

    MSI also participated in numerous gun shows in the region. Outreach in places like Frederick, Timonium, Chantilly, VA, and York, PA has brought new members into the organization.  At these shows, MSI volunteers helped attendees in understanding Maryland's confusing maze of gun laws that so often trap the unwary in this State.  Hats off to our stalwart volunteers at these shows for a job well done. If you're interested in volunteering, please reach out to . Those volunteers often are afforded free admission to the show and those who volunteer four shifts in a year will see their MSI membership renewal comped for the year!

On the Horizon
    Because of your support, MSI is a larger and stronger organization than it has ever been. That's important because we face opponents whose resources are nearly bottomless.  They will stop at nothing to promote the enactment of new laws that will almost certainly be enforced in an arbitrary and discriminatory fashion.  These opponents would love nothing better than to find nice little jail cells for you. We hope to frustrate them, with your help.  And with the changes to the Supreme Court and so many new fellow 2A supporters, 2021 may well prove to be an interesting year.  

    MSI's members are ambassadors of responsible gun ownership and its virtues. Don't be a free rider, join or donate to MSI. Thanks to each and every one of you who has supported and continues to support MSI and its mission.


Latest News

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