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Former Maryland handgun board member ejected from General Assembly hearing on abolishing panel

Shari Judah testifying in front of a joint hearing of the Senate Executive Nominations Committee and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in Annapolis. She is a former member of the state's Handgun Permit Review Board and was testifying against a bill that would abolish the board. (Baltimore Sun video)

A former member of the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board was ejected Friday from a General Assembly hearing in Annapolis after she refused to end her testimony when her time was up, with an officer yanking her from a chair.

Shari Judah was testifying before two committees on a bill that would abolish the board, which hears appeals of Maryland State Police decisions on people’s requests for permits to carry handguns.

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Sen. Pamela Beidle, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, is sponsoring a bill that would disband the handgun board, so applicants would appeal state police decisions on permits to state administrative law judges. Beidle and other senators are concerned that the handgun board too often overturns state police decisions on permits.

Witnesses were allowed one minute to speak to the Senate’s Executive Nominations Committee and its Judicial Proceedings Committee.

After a timer beeped at the end of Judah’s minute, she raised her voice and continued reading a written statement. Sen. Ron Young, a Frederick County Democrat conducting the hearing, asked Judah to end her testimony multiple times.

Judah kept shouting and a Maryland State Police trooper came over to the witness table and put a hand on one of Judah’s arms. The trooper let go, then grabbed Judah’s other arm and pulled her to her feet. As the trooper kept at least one hand on Judah and took her out of the room, Judah continued yelling her comments. She still could be heard after she was outside the room.

Greg Shipley, a spokesman for the state police, said the woman was escorted outside and told not to return to the building that day. She was not arrested.

Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Judah to the handgun board in October 2016. After senators did not confirm her during the 2017 General Assembly session, Hogan withdrew her nomination, then renominated her after the end of the session. She served on the board until April 2018.

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