This bill would amend MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306(b)(6)(ii) to specify that “self-protection,” or “self-defense” is a basis for finding a “good and substantial” reason for the issuance of a Maryland Wear and Carry Permit. The bills leave unaltered the rest of Section 5-306, including leaving unchanged the rigorous training requirements of 16 hours of instruction that includes a live fire component that “demonstrates the applicant’s proficiency and use of the firearm.” Also unchanged is the requirement that the State Police conduct a background investigation using the applicant’s fingerprints, and the requirement that the State Police find that the applicant “has not exhibited a propensity for violence or instability that may reasonably render the person’s possession of a handgun a danger to the person or to another,” found at § 5-306(b)(6)(ii).
While different (HB 73 is more extensive), both bills provide that “a person may not be denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm under this title solely on the basis that the person” is authorized to use medical cannabis under title 13, subtitle 33 of the Health – General Article of Maryland law. MSI takes no position with respect to the merits of these bills. However, we do wish to point out some legal realities for purposes of informing the debate on these bills.
The Statutory Scheme and the Problem Addressed by these Bills:
Under MD Code Public Safety 5-117.1(c), [a] person may purchase, rent, or receive a handgun only if the person” obtains a Handgun Qualification License” (HQL). Under Section 5-117.1(a), the statue does not apply to “a law enforcement officer or person who is retired in good standing from service with a law enforcement agency of the United States, the State, or a local law enforcement agency of the State.” By its terms, this exclusion for active and retired law enforcement officers applies only to federal agents or law enforcement officers of the State of Maryland.
We welcome you, your friends, your family, and any and all 2nd Amendment and self-defense rights supporters to testify before the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis. As current or potential gun owners, it's in everyone's interest to keep an eye on what our lawmakers are doing. We all know the effect atrocious gun laws have on us and the best way to prepare for what may be on the horizon is to read the bills and act!
This bill would require the Maryland State Police to study and make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning the feasibility of “FIREARM TELEMATICS” which the bill defines to mean “AN ELECTRONIC SENSOR OR EQUIPMENT INSTALLED ON A FIREARM DESIGNED TO TRACK THE LOCATION OF THE FIREARM IF IT BECOMES LOST OR STOLEN.” The obvious intent underlying such firearm telematics is trace and locate any firearm so equipped. Presumably, such equipment could be made mandatory if the study were to determine that doing so would be technically feasible. Indeed, the bill contemplates such equipment for “PREVIOUSLY MANUFACTURED FIREARMS.”
This bill would create a new “buyback fund” in the Maryland State Police for the purpose of paying persons for the voluntary surrender of what the bill calls “assault weapons.” It first defines “assault weapons” to include “A SELF–LOADING, SEMI–AUTOMATIC OR FULLY AUTOMATIC ACTION FIREARM WITH A DETACHABLE MAGAZINE THAT FIRES AN INTERMEDIATE OR HIGH–POWERED CENTERFIRE CARTRIDGE” and to include “A REGULATED FIREARM, AS DEFINED UNDER § 5–101 OF THIS ARTICLE.” To create the buyback fund, the bill would direct the Comptroller to create a checkoff on the income tax form that allows taxpayers to contribute $5.00 to the fund, either by reducing the refund or adding to the tax liability of the taxpayer. The State Police are directed to administer the fund by “SETTING THE PRICES OF ASSAULT WEAPONS THAT THE STATE MAY BUY” and further directs the State Police to either destroy or donate any guns turned in to “the Armed Forces of the United States.” The bill compels the Governor to include, starting in FY 2022, an annual budget appropriation of $50,000 to the Fund.
The Statutory Scheme of Existing Maryland Law:
This bill would include ANDERSON MANUFACTURING .223 CALIBER AM–15 AND .300 CALIBER AM–15 on the list of guns set forth in MD Code Public Safety 5-101(r)(2) that are now classified as assault weapons and thus were banned in 2013, with enactment of the Firearms Safety Act of 2013. Section 5-101(r)(2)(xv) already lists (and thus bans) the “Colt AR-15, CAR-15, and all imitations except Colt AR-15 Sporter H-BAR rifle.”
This bill would add a wholly new set of restrictions on temporary and permanent long gun “transfers” which would be defined in an extremely broad manner. The bills would severely criminalize any non-compliance with its many and highly complex new restrictions. The bills would effectively eviscerate loans of guns between law-abiding individuals, including fellow hunters and effectively destroy the market value of countless gun collections, as their sales would be all but banned. The bills mandate the use background checks by Federal Firearms Licensees (“FFLs”) for private loans of long guns in a manner that would actually violate federal law. The bill would create nightmarish uncertainty in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Finally, the bills ignore the well-documented reality that these sorts are long guns are almost never used in crime. Indeed, FBI statistics demonstrate that a person far more likely to be killed by a knife or hands or feet than a long gun. There is simply no public safety purpose that would be served by the bill.
April 12, 2019
Mr. Christopher S. Shank
Chief Legislative Officer
100 State Circle Annapolis, MD 21401-1925
Re: Veto Request for SB1000/HB1343
This letter is submitted on behalf of Maryland Shall Issue, its officers and Board and all its members, to request that Governor Hogan veto SB1000/HB1343, which abolish the Handgun Permit Review Board. As you may know, Maryland Shall Issue is an all-volunteer, non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of gun owners’ rights in Maryland. The undersigned President of Maryland Shall Issue is an attorney and an active member of the Bar of the District of Columbia, having recently retired from the United States Department of Justice, after 33 years of practicing before the federal Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. Having just passed the out-of-state-attorney’s bar exam, the undersigned will also soon be an active member of the Maryland Bar.
What a Session! We saw the most anti-gun bills introduced since 2013. But as a community, we stood tall and defeated almost every single anti-gun measure. Maryland Shall Issue thanks each and every one of you who took time from your days, evenings, and endured sleepless nights to contribute to the defense and advancement of your fellow Marylanders rights. Despite this particularly hostile legislative session, you didn't tire or throw in the towel. Without your phone calls, meetings, letters, and testimony, who knows the damages and criminal penalties Marylanders would be facing this year. We know we can count on you when the time calls and are honored to have your support. Again, thank you.
A running guide on questions and answers for the legislation being considered in Annapolis this session.
MGA2019: Testimony in Opposition to SB1000 and HB1343 - Public Safety - Handgun Permit Review Board - Repeal
The Handgun Permit Review Board serves as civilian oversight of Maryland State Police decisions on applications for carry permits and modifications to existing permits. Removal of the Board will mean that the only recourse applicants would have from arbitrary State Police decisions would be an appeal to an administrative law judge for formal trial-type proceedings. As a practical matter, that means you would need a lawyer and that is expensive. The State Police know that, of course, so the elimination of the Board is simply part of their overall strategy of discouraging applications and appeals.
These bills would repeal MD Code Public Safety § 5-302 to eliminate the Handgun Permit Review Board established by that section. Under that Section, the Board consists of five persons appointed by the Governor. The bill would also amend 5–312 of the Public Safety Article to provide appeals from decisions concerning a handgun carry permit would be only to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), an administrative body which employs administrative law judges to conduct trial-type hearings in disputes over agency decisions. These bills must be considered in the greater context of the law and the facts associated with carry permits in Maryland. Thus viewed, the bills are misguided and uninformed.
MGA2019: Written Testimony in Opposition to HB786 and SB737 - Public Safety - Rifles and Shotguns - Transactions
These bills essentially copy virtually all of Maryland’s existing laws that severely restrict the purchase and transfer of handguns over to long guns, ordinary hunting rifles and shotguns, so as to impose most of the same restrictions on the possession and receipt of these long guns. The bills then add a wholly new set of restrictions on temporary and permanent long gun “transfers” which would be defined in an extremely broad manner. The bills would severely criminalize any non-compliance with its many and highly complex new restrictions.
MGA2019: Written Testimony in Opposition to SB8 - Criminal Law - Computer-Aided Firearm Fabrication - Prohibitions
Senate Bill 8 would create three new crimes, including two new possession criminal offenses into law.
House Bill 92 would amend MD Code Public Safety 5-304. That section sets out the requirements for an application for wear and carry permits issued by the Maryland State Police. It establishes fee caps for the applications and provides that the applicant for a carry permit may pay the fees under this section by “a personal check, business check, certified check or money order.” HB 92 would amend this last requirement, providing that the applicant must pay via “a method of payment approved by the Secretary.” For the reasons set forth below, this change is misguided and would impose additional barriers on applicants who lack the means to meet the State Police’s new requirements.
MGA2019: Information Only Testimony on SB97 and HB749 - Firearms - Right to Purchase, Possess, and Carry - Use of Medical Cannabis
These bills simply provide that “a person may not be denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm under this title solely on the basis that the person is authorized to use medical cannabis under title 13, subtitle 33 of the health – general article.” MSI takes no position with respect to the merits of this bill. However, we do wish to point out some legal realities for purposes of informing the debate.
MGA2019: Written estimony in Opposition to HB95 - Public Safety - Firearms Disqualifications - Antique Firearm (Shadé's Law)
These bills basically prohibit an otherwise disqualified person from possessing an “antique” firearm. Under current law, Public Safety, § 5-205 prohibits a disqualified person from possessing a rifle or a shotgun, but makes an exception from that prohibition for “a rifle or shotgun that is an antique firearm as defined in § 4-201 of the Criminal Law Article.” SB 448 and HB 402 remove that exception from Section 5-205.
MGA2019: Testimony in Opposition to HB612 - Public Safety - Regulated Firearms - Colt AR-15 Sporter H-BAR Rifle
Current law, the Statutory Scheme and HBARs:
Under current law, MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-101(r)(2) contains a long list of firearms which the statute defines as a “regulated firearm” That list includes, at Section 5- 101(r)(2)(xv) a “Colt AR–15, CAR–15, and all imitations except Colt AR–15 Sporter H–BAR rifle.” (Emphasis added). The term “HBAR” means that the rifle is equipped with a heavy barrel.
MGA2019: Written Testimony in Opposition to HB96 and SB346 - Public Safety - Regulated Firearms - Transfer
HB 96 and SB 346 would amend MD Code, Public Safety § 5-124 to provide that “[i]n this section, ‘transfer’ includes a loan other than a temporary gratuitous exchange of a regulated firearm between two individuals who remain in the same location for the duration of the exchange.” The term “loan” is new to Title 5 and not defined either in these bills or elsewhere. Under these bills, a law-abiding non-prohibited adult who loans a handgun to another law-abiding, non-prohibited adult must go through all the transfer requirements imposed by Section 5-124.