MDGA22 Testimony in Support of HB1288 "Public Safety - Handgun Permit Application Fee - Waiver for Disabled Residents"
✅ HB1288 Public Safety - Handgun Permit Application Fee - Waiver for Disabled Residents
Delegate Arikan, et al.
MSI SUPPORTS this bill!
Hearing scheduled for 3/2 at 1pm
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The Bill: This bill would amend MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-304. That Section sets out fees charged by the State of Maryland in connection with an application for a wear and carry permit issued by the Maryland State Police for the wear, carry or transport of a handgun under MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306. Those fees are “(i) $75 for an initial application; (ii) $50 for a renewal or subsequent application; and
(iii) $10 for a duplicate or modified permit”. See Section 5-304(b)(2). Subsection 5-304(d) provides that the Secretary of the State Police may not charge a fee otherwise imposed by Section 5-304 for “a State, county, or municipal public safety employee” who is required to carry a firearm as a condition of employment, or to a “retired law enforcement officer of the State or a county or municipal corporation of the State.”
The bill would add to that list A DISABLED PERSON, and would thus prohibit the Secretary from charging fees to a disabled person. For the sake of clarity, the bill also amends MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-301 to define a “disabled person” for these purposes, providing that a disabled person is a person who (1) HAS BEEN CERTIFIED AS DISABLED BY A UNIT OF THE STATE OR THE UNITED STATES THAT CLASSIFIES DISABLED INDIVIDUALS; AND (2) IS A RESIDENT OF THE STATE. The bill makes no modification to the requirements for a permit otherwise imposed by Section 5-306.
Discussion: This bill makes sense. People with disabilities are often uniquely susceptible to physical attack precisely because their disability may hinder or impede their ability to defend themselves. See https://bit.ly/3BVcvEI. As such, the State Police recognize that such individuals may well qualify for a wear and carry permit. Yet, such disabilities may also contribute to financial hardship. Persons should not be forced to choose between their need for self-defense and their ability to otherwise provide for themselves. The amounts involved are relatively small but may well be significant to a person with disabilities. Nothing in this bill would amend or change the rigorous training requirements otherwise imposed by Section 5-306(a)(5), including the requirement that the applicant demonstrate, through a scored course of live fire, “proficiency and use of the firearm.” See Section 306-5(a)(5)(ii). Nothing in the bill would change the requirement, imposed by Section 5-306(b)6), that the applicant demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the State Police, a “good and substantial reason” for the issuance of a carry permit. The only thing that would change is that the person with State-recognized disabilities would be spared the $75 initial application fee, the $50 renewal fee, and the $10 fee for a modified permit. That is a small price for the State to pay to assist such persons.
We urge a favorable report.