MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Support with Amendments of SB15 - Firearms - Handgun Permit - Notice of Expiration and Renewal Instructions

Maryland State Police 006 small

✅ SB15

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.

Sincerely,

Mark W. Pennak

President, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.


Latest News

US Supreme Court Orders Response from MD Attorney General Brian Frosh in "Assault Weapon" Ban Challenge

On January 14, the Supreme Court ordered the Maryland Attorney General to file a response to the petition for certiorari filed by plaintiffs in Bianchi v. Frosh, No. 21-901. In that case, plaintiffs are challenging Maryland's "assault weapon" ban as unconstitutional.

That order means, at the minimum, that at least one Justice on the Court wants a response. It also likely means that the Court will hold this petition pending a decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, No. 20-843, in which the Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of New York's "good cause" requirement for carry permits. Holding Bianchi would be consistent with the hold that the Court has apparently placed on the petition filed in the New Jersey "large-capacity magazine" case, ANJRPC v. Bruck, No. 20-1507. The petition in that case has been pending in the Supreme Court since April of 2021. All of this is good news. A decision in Bruen this Spring may mean that the Court will thereafter vacate the lower court decisions in both Bianchi and ANJRPC and remand for further consideration in light of Bruen. At least, we hope that is the outcome.

The Dangers of Maryland's Carry Laws

On August 12, 2021, Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that a violation of Md. Criminal Law § 4-203(a)(1)(i) is a strict liability crime. Put simply, if one has a handgun on or about them and is not authorized to do so, they are guilty of violating the law. The case is Lawrence v. State, 471 Md. 101 (2021).

Section 4-203 is the statute that broadly prohibits the wear, carry, or transport of handguns within the State. Specifically, § 4-203(a)(1)(i) states:

 (a)    (1)    Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a person may not:

            (i)    wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person;

There are a few exceptions to this ban (found in subsection (b) of Section 4-203), such as one having a Maryland Wear and Carry Permit, possession in the home or business (by the business owner), or when transporting an unloaded handgun (kept in an enclosed case or enclosed holster) between a gun shop and one's residence or from their residence to a gun range. But, outside these sharply limited exceptions set out in subsection (b), the passage above otherwise broadly criminalizes having a pistol on (or about) the person. 

Read more ...

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Maryland Shall Issue®, Inc.
9613 Harford Rd
Ste C #1015
Baltimore, MD 21234-2150

Phone:  410-849-9197
Email: 
Web:   www.marylandshallissue.org