MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Support with Amendments of SB15 - Firearms - Handgun Permit - Notice of Expiration and Renewal Instructions
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.
The notice requirement is imminently sensible. Allowing these licenses to expire inadvertently usually means that the licensee must start all over from scratch, as if there had never been any license at all. Other states provide notice to licensees, including carry permits issued to out of state residents. For example, 42 states, including states such as Florida, Utah, Virginia, Pennsylvania, issue carry permits and many, if not most, of these states provide renewal notices. Florida has issued nearly permits to 2 million persons and manages to provide notice of renewal to each of these persons. See https://cwrex.freshfromflorida.com/ (requiring a number from the renewal notice sent by mail in order to renew) and https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/2019/04/11/florida-nears-milestone-2-million-concealed-weapon-permit-holders/. As of 2016, Utah had issued approximately 663,000 carry permits. https://www.standard.net/police-fire/utah-concealed-weapons-permits-now-numbering-k-see-surge-in/article_04739588-b02c-5d93-91a9-62c0e1ece68b.html. It likewise provides renewal notices. Pennsylvania has issued over 1 million carry permits. It provides renewal notices, albeit from the County Sheriffs, who are the issuing authority under Pennsylvania law. See generally https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3463357&download=yes.
Maryland State Police has issued approximately 26,000 carry permits, which is a tiny fraction of the number of permits issued in these other States. As of October 1, 2019, the State Police moved to a fully electronic application and renewal process for carry permits. https://mdsp.maryland.gov/Organization/Pages/CriminalInvestigationBureau/LicensingDivision/Firearms/WearandCarryPermit.aspx. The renewal period in Maryland is 2 years for the first renewal and 3 years for subsequent renewals for carry permits. See MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-309. Thus, within 3 years (starting from October 2019), all the data, including expiration dates and email and home addresses, for every existing permit holder, will be fully incorporated into this electronic system. It is our understanding that the State Police fully intend to use this electronic system to send out renewal notices and remainders. The cost of doing so is de minimis. The relatively small number of individuals directly affected by this bill should be accorded the same treatment.
Mark W. Pennak
President, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.