MDGA22 - Testimony in Support of HB590 - "Handgun Permit Holders – Authority to Carry Handguns in State Parks and Forests"

✅ HB590 - Handgun Permit Holders – Authority to Carry Handguns in State Parks and Forests
Delegate Daniel Cox
MSI SUPPORTS this bill!
Virtual hearing scheduled for 2/23 at 1pm
Signup to testify between 2/21 between 8am and 3pm with your MyMGA Account
For more on how to testify and signup, read our guide.

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The Bill and the Existing Legal Framework: This bill provides that the Department of Natural Resources may not prohibit an individual to whom a handgun permit has been issued by the State Police under MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306, from wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun in a State park or forest, subject to any limitations attached to such a permit by the State Police under MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-307. Under current regulations, the Department has broadly banned possession of firearms in these locations, without regard to whether a person has been issued a permit by the State Police. See COMAR § 08.01.07.14 (relating to Chesapeake Forest Lands); COMAR § 08.07.01.04 (relating to State forests); COMAR § 08.07.06.04 (relating to State parks). This bill would allow persons with carry permits (and only such persons) to possess and carry a firearm in these locations, just as such persons are entrusted by the State Police to possess and carry a loaded firearm in other public areas throughout the State.

As amended by the Firearms Safety Act of 2013, MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306(b)(6), allows the State Police to issue a carry permit upon a showing that the applicant for the permit has demonstrated a “good and substantial reason” to carry a firearm in public. Such a good cause requirement is sometimes known as a “may issue” requirement, as a particularized showing of need is required. Section 5-306 also imposes 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.” Section 5-306(b)(6) requires that the State Police conduct a background investigation using the applicant’s fingerprints, and 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.” Another Maryland statute, MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-307, allows the State Police to attach time, place and manner restrictions on any carry permit issued under Section 5-306.

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MDGA22 - Testimony in Support of SB456 - "Firearms - Handgun Qualification License - Firearms Orientation Component"

✅ SB456 Firearms - Handgun Qualification License - Firearms Orientation Component
Senator Jack Bailey
MSI SUPPORTS this bill!
Hearing scheduled for 2/16 at 1pm
Signup to testify between 2/15 at 4pm and and 2/16 by 10am with your MyMGA Account
For more on how to testify and signup, read our guide.

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The HQL Statute and the Bill

This bill would amend MD Code, Public Safety, 5-117.1 (HQL statute).  That Section prohibits law-abiding, responsible Maryland citizens from acquiring a handgun unless they have a Handgun Qualification License (“HQL”). Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety, § 5-117.1(c).  Subsection (d) imposes training requirements, including a (i) a minimum of 4 hours of instruction by a qualified handgun instructor” consisting of “(ii) classroom instruction on: 1. State firearm law; 2. home firearm safety; 3. handgun mechanisms and operation; and (iii) a firearms orientation component that demonstrates the person’s safe operation and handling of a firearm.”  In regulations, the Maryland State Police have added a new and additional live-fire training requirement, mandating that the HQL applicant “safely fires at least one round of live ammunition.”  COMAR 29.03.01.29(C)(4). That live round requirement is not found in the statute. 

The bill would allow instructors to use live fire in teaching the HQL class, providing that the class “MAY INCLUDE THE USE OF LIVE OR INERT AMMUNITION.”  Instructors do this now as HQL instruction is sometimes combined with instruction for the much longer (8 hours) NRA Basic Pistol course, in which live fire is a substantial part. The bill, however, goes on to provide that live fire is not required in order to satisfy the training requirement, stating that “A PERSON MAY NOT BE REQUIRED TO FIRE ROUNDS OF LIVE AMMUNITION AS PART OF THE FIREARMS ORIENTATION COMPONENT UNDER PARAGRAPH (1)(III)3 OF THIS SUBSECTION.” As explained below, this provision is fully consistent with the language and legislative history of the HQL legislation and will broaden the availability of basic firearms training to underserved portions of the Maryland community which have be unable to obtain training because of the live fire requirement.

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MDGA22 - Testimony in Support of SB533 - "Criminal Law - Theft of a Handgun"

✅ SB533 - Criminal Law - Theft of a Handgun
Senator Justin Ready
MSI is providing Informational Testimony only
Hearing scheduled for 2/16 at 1pm
Signup to testify between 2/15 at 4pm and and 2/16 by 10am with your MyMGA Account
For more on how to testify and signup, read our guide.

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Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

The Bill

The purpose of this bill is to provide for greatly enhanced penalties for the theft of a firearm. Under current law, theft of a firearm is treated just like the theft of any other piece of personal property. For example, under MD Code Criminal Law § 7-104(g)(2), “a person convicted of theft of property or services with a value of at least $100 but less than $1,500, is guilty of a misdemeanor and: (i) is subject to: 1. for a first conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $500 or both; and 2. for a second or subsequent conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $500 or both. The bill would change these penalties for theft of a firearm to a felony and would impose, on the first offense, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and/or a fine of $1,000. Subsequent offenses are punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500. These punishments are similar to the provisions enacted in 2020 by the Senate in SB 35 which likewise made theft of a firearm a felony and punished such theft with imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of $10,000. SB 35 further required the thief to restore the firearm to the owner or pay the owner the value of the firearm.

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MDGA22 - Testimony in Opposition to HB425 and SB387 "Public Safety - Untraceable Firearms"

House Bill 425 is being heard on 2/9 in a virtual-only (Zoom) hearing starting at 1 pm.
Sign up for this hearing starts on 2/7 at 8 am and ends at 3 pm. Sign-up is done with your MyMGA account.

Senate Bill 387 is being heard on 2/16 in-person in a hearing starting at 1 pm in the Senate Judicial Proceedings room. Sign-up starts on 2/15 at 4 pm and ends the morning of the hearing at 10 am. Sign-up is best done with your MyMGA account.

Check out our guide on submitting bill testimony HERE: https://www.marylandshallissue.org/jmain/legislation-tracker/166-tips-testimony-mga

The Bills and Framework of State and Federal Law

The bills would create a massive new gun ban on the possession, receipt, sale, transfer or purchase of un-serialized unfinished receivers and frames. First, the bills provide that “person may not purchase, receive, sell, offer to sell, or transfer an unfinished frame or receiver unless it is required by federal law to be, and has been, imprinted with a serial number by a federally licensed firearms manufacturer or federally licensed firearms importer in compliance with all federal laws and regulations applicable to the manufacture and import of firearms.” This ban would go into effect on June 1, 2022. Next, the bills ban mere possession of an unserialized, privately made firearm on or after January 1, 2023. To be lawfully kept after January 1, 2023, all unfinished frames and receivers would have to be serialized as the bills describe. The mere possession of any unserialized item considered to be a firearm is a criminal offense as of 1/1/2023.

The bills create a very broad and new definition of "firearm" to make clear that unfinished receivers will now be considered to be a “firearm.” Specifically, the bills define "unfinished frame or receiver" to mean "a forged, cast, printed, extruded, or machined body or similar article that (1) Has reached a stage in manufacture where it may readily be completed, assembled, or converted to be used as the frame or receiver of a functional firearm; or (2) Is marketed or sold to the public to become or be used as the frame or receiver of a functional firearm once completed, assembled, or converted." In this respect, the bills go far beyond the definition of a firearm set forth in federal law. Under federal law, 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3), a firearm is defined as “(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.”

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MDGA22 - Testimony in Support of SB338 "Handgun Permit - Preliminary Approval"

✅ SB338 - Handgun Permit - Preliminary Approval
Senator Michael Hough
MSI is providing Informational Testimony only
Hearing scheduled for 2/8 at 1pm
Signup to testify on 2/4 between 10am and 3pm with your MyMGA Account
For more on how to testify and signup, read our guide.

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The Firearms Safety Act of 2013 requires that a person complete a 16 hour training course, taught by a State certified instructor, “prior to application” for a carry permit. MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306(a)(5). Senate Bill 338 would amend Section 5-306 to delete the requirement that the training be completed “prior to application.” It then provides that a person may file an initial application for a wear and carry permit without completing the training and directs that the State Police to issue a preliminary approval if the person is otherwise qualified for the permit. The person then has 120 days after receipt of the preliminary approval to furnish the State Police the certificate of training otherwise required by the regulations. A permit does not issue until that training certificate is provided.  If no certificate of training is provided, the State Police are directed to revoke the preliminary approval and deny the permit application.

This bill makes sense.  Indeed, this same bill passed the House of Delegates in 2017 as HB 1036 and that bill was reported out this Committee with a favorable report. The bill only failed to become law that year because time ran out at sine die. In 2020, the same bill (SB 506) was favorably reported out by this Committee and unanimously passed the Senate, only to die in the House with the shortened legislative session due to COVID 19. Last Session, this same preliminary approval legislation (SB 309) was passed by the Senate, but died in the House. This bill, SB 338, is not materially different than these bills that have passed the Senate and the House in years past. 

To be clear, the existing, very rigorous training requirements are not relaxed in the slightest under this bill and no permit may be issued without a person satisfying those requirements. That training, however, is relatively hard to find and can be quite expensive, running from around $300 up to $600 for each person in a class. This high cost reflects the number of hours required and the mandatory live-fire course mandated by the State Police.  That live-fire requirement necessitates access to a range, which are relatively few in number in Maryland and most commonly privately owned and operated.  Many, if not most, instructors require a minimum number of persons in a class, typically ten, and classes are not held until that minimum number of persons actually sign up for the class. For these reasons, a person will need at least 120 days to find the course and secure training. This bill allows a person to apply without undergoing that initial and substantial expense, which would be completely wasted if the State Police were to determine that the person is not otherwise qualified for the permit.

Other jurisdictions follow this same approach.  For example, California imposes a “good cause” requirement for a carry permit. See CA Penal Code 26202. That “good cause” requirement is quite similar to the Maryland “good and substantial reason” requirement imposed by MD Code Public Safety §5-306(a)(6)(ii).  California, like Maryland, likewise imposes a 16 hour training requirement.  CA Penal Code § 26165.  Yet, that same provision also provides that “[t]he applicant shall not be required to pay for any training courses prior to the determination of good cause being made pursuant to Section 26202.”  See also Section 26202 (“If the licensing authority determines that good cause exists, the notice shall inform the applicants to proceed with the training requirements specified in Section 26165.”).

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2022 General Assembly Week Three Update

So-Called "Ghost Guns."  Two New Bills:

The two identical bills that would criminalize the possession of any unserialized firearms in Maryland have been scheduled for separate hearings in the House and Senate. Your testimony against them could mean the difference between incarcerating innocent Marylanders and being able to legally keep arms you've always had the right to have. If they are going to be stopped or amended, YOUR TESTIMONY is needed.

House Bill 425 is being heard on 2/9 in a virtual-only (Zoom) hearing starting at 1 pm.
Sign up for this hearing starts on 2/7 at 8 am and ends at 3 pm. Sign-up is done with your MyMGA account.

Senate Bill 387 is being heard on 2/16 in-person in a hearing starting at 1 pm in the Senate Judicial Proceedings room. Sign-up starts on 2/15 at 4 pm and ends the morning of the hearing at 10 am. Sign-up is best done with your MyMGA account.

The only way to guarantee that your input on the bill is received is to submit written testimony. You can, and should, signup to provide oral testimony too, but the committees are free to set time limits and be very selective in who gets to speak. Read more in our guide on how this all works here: https://www.marylandshallissue.org/jmain/legislation-tracker/166-tips-testimony-mga

We have a Frequently Asked Questions page about what these bills do and don't do HERE.

Find all of the bills submitted so far and how to testify with our Tracker at: tinyurl.com/mdgunbills

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2022 General Assembly Week Two Update

While the bill text is not yet available as of this writing, there is a lot of talk about bills that would ban, that’s right, ban, unserialized privately made firearms in Maryland. Attorney General Brian Frosh hosted a press conference where he was joined by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, BPD Commissioner Michael Harris, Senators Susan Lee and Will Smith, Delegates Lesley Lopez and Luke Clippinger, and members of law enforcement from Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties.

Frosh announced that the bills, if enacted, would redefine “unfinished frame and receiver” and “firearm” to match the proposed ATF rules on what constitutes a firearm. He also announced that unfinished frames and receivers would no longer be legally acquired in Maryland on June 1, 2022, and current owners would have to have a federally licensed dealer inscribe a serial number on any they have by January 1, 2023, or face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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In Memoriam: Henry Heymering, Founder of Maryland Shall Issue

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our Founder, Henry Heymering on January 19th, 2022 at 71. Henry founded Maryland Shall Issue in 2004 with the aim of taking a different approach to pro-2nd Amendment and self-defense advocacy by focusing on non-partisan outreach and education. During his time as president, MSI became one of the regular entities in Annapolis working to protect the interests of gun owners. MSI helped to fend off earlier attempts at banning the possession of common semi-automatic rifles and handguns, taxes on ammunition, and hosts of other attempts at criminalizing or further burdening gun ownership. MSI had also pushed for a Maryland constitutional amendment recognizing the right to keep and bear arms and bills that would allow citizens to apply for permits to carry a handgun in public without needing a "good and substantial reason," hence our name. Toward the end of his presidency, he also signed MSI on as amicus in a brief in support of the landmark, District of Columbia v. Heller. His chronology on Maryland's carry laws is often cited in our testimony and that of other advocates.

Long before he founded MSI, Henry was a life-long horseback rider and became a farrier (one who shoes horses) as a teenager. His interest and work led him to create the American Farriers Journal in 1975 and he'd go on to become a world-renowned authority in the field. When he wasn't caring for and enjoying the company of horses, he was also a musician and cowboy action shooter.

MSI's all-volunteer tradition of advocating before lawmakers, in courtrooms, and most importantly, the people, are all thanks to Henry. His legacy will be carried on and continues through our work to finally make Maryland shall issue.

UPCOMING SERVICE
Apr, 9 2022
12:00p.m.
Utica Park Pavilion 1
Frederick, Maryland

https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/fredericknewspost/name/henry-heymering-obituary?id=32585548

 

 Maryland Shall Issue org logoAn early MSI logo.


The 2022 Legislative Session has Begun

The Maryland General Assembly opened the 2022 Legislative Session Wednesday and there are already a small handful of gun bills. Testimony will begin this coming week with HB30, a bill aimed at banning guns in polling sites or within 100 feet of such sites. That bill is scheduled to be heard 1/19 at 1:00pm at the House Ways and Means Committee. More details on that bill and how to testify are below in the next section.

Like prior years, there will be bills introduced to criminalize or otherwise restrict the possession and creation of privately made firearms. This is a top priority of Attorney General Brian Frosh, who is working with Delegate Lopez and Senator Lee. Our president, Mark Pennak, was quoted in The Maryland Daily Record about our opposition to the bills. The language of those bills is not yet available as of this writing, but we will of course track it and make you aware as soon as it is filed.

Expect to see more updates like this one as we get further into session and if the right to keep and bear arms is to be protected in Maryland, it is of utmost importance to keep engaged, educate others, speak with your lawmakers, and of course, testify.

Joining helps MSI promote these rights and ensures that we're able to continue our advocacy.

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MDGA22 - MSI Testimony in Opposition to HB30 and SB329 - "Polling Sites - Firearms Prohibitions"

❌ HB30 - Election Law – Polling Sites – Firearms Prohibitions
Delegate Shaneka Henson
MSI OPPOSES this bill!
Hearing held on 1/19

❌ SB329 - Election Law – Polling Sites – Firearms Prohibitions
Senators Jeff Waldstreicher and Bill Ferguson
Being heard at 2/23 at 1pm

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The bill(s), as originally submitted, was a carbon copy of SB 10 from the 2021 General Assembly Session as it was amended and passed by the Senate. That bill never emerged from the House Ways and Means Committee after a hearing. Like SB 10, HB 30 would amend MD Code, Election Law, §16-904, to provide that a person may not “CARRY OR POSSESS A FIREARM WITHIN 100 FEET OF A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION.” Second, the bill provides that a person may not “CARRY OR DISPLAY A FIREARM ON THE PREMISES OF A PRIVATELY OR PUBLICLY OWNED BUILDING BEING USED AS A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION, INCLUDING IN A PARKING LOT.” A violation of the Bill is punished as a civil infraction under which a $5,000 fine may be assessed against the violator under MD Code, Election Law, § 13-604. That fine may be imposed even though the person commits a violation “without knowing that the act is illegal.” MD Code, Election Law, § 13-604(a). The bill thus imposes strict liability for otherwise innocent conduct without regard to the person’s knowledge of the law or the person’s intent.

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MDGA22 - Informational Only Testimony from MSI on SB286 - Firearms - Use of Medical Cannabis

ℹ️ SB286 - Firearms - Use of Medical Cannabis
Senator Michael Hough
MSI is providing Informational Testimony only
Hearing scheduled for 2/8 at 1pm
Signup to testify on 2/4 between 8am and 3pm with your MyMGA Account
For more on how to testify and signup, read our guide.

February 8, 2022

Senate Bill 286 provides 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. Like similar bills in the past, MSI takes no position with respect to the merits of these bills. However, as before, we do wish to point out some legal realities for purposes of informing the debate on these bills.

With the recent changes in Maryland law concerning medical marijuana, see MD Code, Health - General, § 13-3304 et seq., and the push to legalize the use of marijuana in Maryland, a recurring issue is how such marijuana use would affect Second Amendment rights. The short answer is that such use effectively abrogates those rights by (1) barring a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”) from selling a firearm to such a user and (2), by making such a user a prohibited person under federal law.

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December Update

Get Ready for the 2022 Legislative Session

Now more than ever, it's critical that supporters of the Second Amendment make their positions known before our lawmakers. Testimony for this legislative session continues to be conducted virtually via Zoom. While this may blunt the emotional impact of in-person testimony, it also provides an opportunity for more citizens to have their voices heard in Annapolis. If you have a quiet space and a good internet connection, you too can make an impact. To prepare your testimony, use our helpful guide to navigate the process. Included are key tips to make your oral and written testimony impactful and strong.

Our '22 Gun Bill Tracker is up and running to keep you up to date throughout the legislative session. The first pre-filed bills (those filed ahead of session) will be made available to be posted soon. Gun Bill updates are added to the tracker including MSI's testimony, how lawmakers vote, and how to contact them.

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MSI Bill Tracker - 2021 Maryland General Assembly Special Session

This tracker follows legislation and lawmakers in the Maryland General Assembly. It serves as an easily searchable gun and self-defense related bill database for supporters of the right to keep and bear arms.

Share this tracker anywhere! tinyurl.com/guntracker
Key:
Red ❌= Oppose
Green ✅= Support
Light Green ✅= Support with amendment
Blue ℹ️= Informational Testimony Only (no position for or against the bill).

The 2021 Regular Legislative Session of the General Assembly has concluded.
Find our recap of the session HERE



Find your representatives HERE

Committee Contacts can be found HERE

HOW TO TESTIFY
To Sign-up to testify, you MUST make a MyMGA Account!
DO SO HERE

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2021 Maryland General Assembly Recap

MDHouse

Quick Summary: With the clock striking midnight on April 12th, 2021, the Maryland General Assembly's 90-day legislative session came to an end.  With every session of the General Assembly, new attacks are launched against the law-abiding Maryland gun owners. This year was no different. However, because of some great testimony and advocacy, all the newly-filed bad bills failed. Unfortunately, the General Assembly did, as expected, override the Governor’s veto of the long guns background check bill, passed last year. But, the bills criminalizing owners of homemade firearms and an extreme gun storage bill failed to move. Sadly, all the sensible bills also didn't pass. The details of all these bills are set out below.

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March Legislative Update

With Crossover day (March 22) behind us, we have only seen a small handful of gun bills advance, all with limited impact. The so-called "Ghost Gun" bills, SB624/HB638 and HB1291 have not been brought before neither the Judicial Proceedings nor Judiciary committees for a voting session. The same is true for SB479/HB200, the extreme gun storage bills. The ammunition bill, HB175, likewise has not moved. MSI submitted oral and written testimony in vigorous opposition to each of these bills. A lot can change in the General Assembly in a very short amount of time, so there is no guarantee that these bills will not advance.  The committees have spent a great deal of time on bills related to police reform and issues related to and exacerbated by COVID-19. The end of the legislative session is fast approaching (midnight, April 12 is Sine Die). Any bills that have not passed their original chamber by now are not guaranteed a hearing in the opposite chamber if it does pass its original chamber. A bill must pass both chambers with both consenting to the same language by the end of session to go to the Governor's desk.

The Senate has so far passed SB10, SB15, and SB309. We oppose SB10 in its current form, as it is so poorly drafted and amended that it would criminalize possession of firearms in a home within 100ft of a polling place. As amended and passed in the Senate, SB10 does try to correct the issues with the bill that we had pointed out in testimony. You can read more on SB10 HERE.

SB15 (notice of expiration to permit holders) and SB309 (preliminary approval for carry permits applications) both passed the Senate unanimously and have been referred to the House Judiciary committee. We thank all of the members of the Senate for their support of these two very modest bills!


Many of you testified in February and early March on the bills mentioned above and the testimony was uniformly excellent. MSI has testified for many years in the General Assembly and what we saw this year was the best. Your advocacy brought thoughtful and at times, poignant, testimony on how the bills would personally affect you. While there were some familiar faces, MSI members who testified spoke extemporaneously, authentically, and it was clear they had done their homework. Thanks to all who submitted written and oral testimony before the committees so far. You are not just standing up for yourself, but so too for your fellow Marylanders. Links to the testimony can be found in the Bill Tracker (tinurl.com/guntracker) under the Hearing Video/Media tab. The opposing testimony from the March 1st bills in Judiciary (HB200, HB638, HB1291, and HB175) is just fantastic, as is later testimony in support of Delegate Cox's shall-issue bill, HB845.

 

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.

 

Litigation Update



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!

 

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

 


Wrapping Up
As always, you can reach out to Maryland Shall Issue from our website, social media, or at  for any other questions and help you may need. Joining MSI will ensure that you are kept up-to-date on the happenings in Annapolis and supporting what we're doing to protect, promote, and restore the self-defense rights of Marylanders. Again, you can follow all of the bills this session by bookmarking and checking tinyurl.com/guntracker.

MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Partial Opposition to SB10 "Election Law – Polling Sites – Firearms Prohibitions" as Passed by the Senate

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SB10

SB10 was amended before passing the Senate. Our testimony below is on this version of the bill. You can read our previous testimony on SB10 HERE.

This bill would amend MD Code, Election Law, §16-904, to provide that a person may not “CARRY OR POSSESS A FIREARM WITHIN 100 FEET OF A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION.”  Second, the bill provides that a person may not “CARRY OR DISPLAY A FIREARM ON THE PREMISES OF A PRIVATELY OR PUBLICLY OWNED BUILDING BEING USED AS A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION, INCLUDING IN A PARKING LOT.” This provision, along with the ban on possession within 100 feet of a polling site, creates literally dozens of new gun-free zones, including in privately owned buildings. Nothing in the bill would mandate or authorize armed security for such polling places. A violation of the bill is punished as a civil infraction under which a $5,000 fine may be assessed against the violator under MD Code, Election Law, § 13-604. That fine may be imposed even though the person commits a violation “without knowing that the act is illegal.” MD Code, Election Law, § 13-604(a). The bill thus imposes strict liability for otherwise innocent conduct without regard to the person’s knowledge of the law or intent. No mens rea is required.

The Senate amended the original bill with important changes in a new subsection “C” which provides an exemption where (I) THE INDIVIDUAL IS LEGALLY IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM; (II) THE RESIDENCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL IS WITHIN 100 FEET OF A PRIVATELY OR PUBLICLY OWNED BUILDING BEING USED AS A POLLING SITE DURING AN ELECTION; AND (III) THE INDIVIDUAL IS TRANSFERRING THE FIREARM TO THE INDIVIDUAL’S RESIDENCE OR VEHICLE WITHIN 100 FEET OF A POLLING PLACE. The bill is also amended, as enacted by the Senate to permit an off-duty police officer to carry a concealed weapon if that officer is displaying his badge.

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MDGA 2021: MSI Testimony in Opposition to HB175 - Ammunition - Sales and Transfers

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Image by Lunde Studio

HB175

The Bill

For the first time in the history of Maryland, this bill attempts to impose a vast regulatory regime on the sale of ordinary ammunition in Maryland. First in a newly minted Section 5-703 of the Public Safety Article of the Maryland Code, the bill would require every ammunition vendor to confirm the identity of every would-be purchaser by demand government issued identification. Next, the bill would command the vendor to “CONDUCT A BACKGROUND CHECK ON THE PURCHASER OR TRANSFEREE THROUGH THE NICS INDEX.” In a newly minted Section 5-704, the bill would impose electronic record-keeping requirements on the vendor and on the Maryland State Police by requiring the vendor to report to the State Police the date of the or transfer, the purchaser’s identification number, the “brand, type and amount” of ammunition purchased, the purchaser’s full name and signature, and the purchaser’s full address, date of birth and telephone number and finally, the name of the salesperson who made the sale. Any violation of these and other provisions of the bill would be a civil offense subject to a fine of “not less than $1,000 for each violation.” The bill would also exempt from its requirements sales to persons holding a Handgun Qualification License and sales to active Maryland and federal law enforcement officers.

A. The Bill Requires A Patently Illegal NICS Background Check On Ammunition Sales

As noted, this bill requires a vendor to conduct a NICS check for each and every sale of ordinary ammunition. That requirement is flatly illegal under controlling federal law. The NICS system is run by the FBI, as required by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, Public Law 103-159, 107 Stat. 1536 (1993), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(t). https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/nics. The Maryland State Police is a FBI-approved, Point of Contact agency for NICS checks for handgun sales in Maryland. https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/nics-participation-map.pdf/view. Under federal law, the federal NICS system may be used to institute a background check only on actual transfers of firearms that are regulated by the Brady Act. Furthermore, under federal law, only federally licensed firearm licensees (FFLs) and designated Point of Contract State agencies are permitted access to the NICS system. No other vendor, or person or agency may have access to the NICS system under federal law. See 28 C.F.R. §25.1, et seq. While a federal license is required to engage in the business of importing or manufacturing ammunition, 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(B), no federal license is required simply to sell ordinary small arms ammunition. 28 C.F.R. § 478.41. See https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/license-required-engage-business-selling-small-arms-ammunition (“A license is not required for a dealer in ammunition only.”). Such non-licensed vendors of ammunition typically include hardware stores and small businesses, especially in rural areas. Because these vendors are not FFLs they do not have any access to the NICS system.

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MDGA 2021: MSI Testimony in Opposition to HB1291 - Untraceable Firearms

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HB1291

The Bill:

The bill would create a massive new gun ban on the possession, receipt, sale, transfer or purchase of un-serialized lower receivers and frames and well as imposing the same ban on mere “objects” that are marketed, advertised or designed to be manufactured into such unfinished lower receivers or frames. It would ban as well the manufacture or assembly of a firearm or a receiver that was not “imprinted” with a serial number by a federally licensed manufacturer or importer.

A. Homemade Guns Are Rarely Used In Crime And Existing Owners Are Law-Abiding Hobbyists, Not Criminals

These new provisions, if enacted, would burden and penalize a harmless activity that has been perfectly legal under federal and state law for the entire history of the United States, viz., the manufacture of homemade guns for personal use. Under Federal law, a person may legally manufacture a firearm for his own personal use. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(a). However, “it is illegal to transfer such weapons in any way.” Defense Distributed v. United States, 838 F.3d 451, 454 (5th Cir. 2016). This manufacture “involves starting with an ‘80% lower receiver,’ which is simply an unfinished piece of metal that looks quite a bit like a lower receiver but is not legally considered one and may therefore be bought and sold freely. It requires additional milling and other work to turn into a functional lower receiver.” (Id).

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MDGA 2021: MSI Testimony in Opposition to HB773 - Firearms Telematics

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HB773

The Bill:

This bill would require the Handgun Roster Board 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.” By assigning the study to the Handgun Roster Board, it is evident that the underlying intent of the bill is to ban the sale of handguns that lacked such “telematics.”  Indeed, the bill contemplates such equipment for “PREVIOUSLY MANUFACTURED FIREARMS,” thus suggesting that such a telematics requirement could be imposed on existing owners of handguns.

The Bill Is Pointless As, Under the Fourth Amendment, Telematics Devices May Not Be

Installed Without A Search Warrant Based On Probable Cause Of A Crime:

The Supreme Court has made clear in recent decisions that the use of tracking devices, including the very types of devices that this bill contemplates, violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. In United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), the Supreme Court held that the government’s attachment of the GPS device to a vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment, requiring a search warrant. Such a search, the Court ruled, was a “trespassory intrusion on property.” (565 U.S. at 414). Justice Sotomayor concurred, stating flatly that “[w]hen the Government physically invades personal property to gather information, a search occurs.” Id. Such a search requires that the government obtain a judicial warrant based on probable cause of a crime.

The Court’s decision in Jones was followed by Carpenter v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 2206 (2018). There, the Supreme Court concluded that the Fourth Amendment was violated by the warrantless search of cell phone records held by third parties (wireless carriers) of a person’s physical movements as captured by cell-site location information. Relying on the principles recognized in Jones, the Court held that “[w]hether the Government employs its own surveillance technology as in Jones or leverages the technology of a wireless carrier, we hold that an individual maintains a legitimate expectation of privacy in the record of his physical movements as captured through [cell-site location information].” (138 S.Ct. at 2217).

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MDGA 2021 - MSI Testimony in Support of SB560 - Theft of a Handgun

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SB560

The Bill 

The purpose of this bill is to provide for greatly enhanced penalties for the theft of a firearm. Under current law, theft of a firearm is treated just like the theft of any other piece of personal property. For example, under MD Code Criminal Law § 7-104(g)(2), “a person convicted of theft of property or services with a value of at least $100 but less than $1,500, is guilty of a misdemeanor and: (i) is subject to: 1. for a first conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $500 or both; and 2. for a second or subsequent conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $500 or both. The bill would change these penalties for theft of a firearm to a felony and would impose, on the first offense, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and/or a fine of $1,000. Subsequent offenses are punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500. These punishments are similar to the provisions enacted last year (2020) by the Senate in SB 35 which likewise made theft of a firearm a felony and punished such theft with imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of $10,000. SB 35 further required the thief to restore the firearm to the owner or pay the owner the value of the firearm.

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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