The Maryland Senate is advancing a bill that would abolish the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board, which some critics say is too permissive in overturning denials of permits to carry handguns.
A key committee on Monday night approved the bill, the first step before the measure can become law.
Handgun owners who want to carry their guns with them must prove to the Maryland State Police that they have a “good and substantial” reason to carry the guns, under state law.
When owners are denied a permit or issued a permit with restrictions, they can appeal to the handgun board. In recent years, the board has grown more permissive, routinely granting requests from gun owners to overturn permit denials or to remove the restrictions.
Maryland lawmakers are considering abolishing the state's Handgun Permit Review Board over concerns it has been too liberal in granting carry permits to gun owners. The Senate last month refused to confirm the appointment of three board members, as it evaluates the board's future.
The Maryland Senate has refused to confirm Gov. Larry Hogan’s appointment of three members to a board that reviews decisions by state police on permits to carry concealed handguns, with several senators citing the board’s rate of granting appeals.
Senators who voted against the bill said it doesn’t address what they see as the key issues: the vague “good and substantial” standard in the state law and the onerous restrictions put on permits.
“I don’t see how this changes anything,” said Sen. Stephen Hershey, an Eastern Shore Republican.
The Executive Nominations Committee voted 10-5 to approve the bill. The Judicial Proceedings Committee also must approve the bill before it goes to the full Senate for consideration. Three members of the Judicial Proceedings Committee who also are members of the Executive Nominations Committee abstained from the vote, so that they don’t vote on the bill twice. Miller also abstained.