Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is nominating five men to the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board, which is likely to exist only for a matter of months.
State lawmakers passed a bill to dissolve the board this year, arguing that it has been too permissive in granting and modifying permits for handgun owners to carry their handguns.
But Hogan, a Republican, vetoed the legislation, allowing the handgun board to continue operating — though lawmakers are expected to override the veto when they are next in session.
Hogan announced a new set of board members on Thursday:
» Frederic N. Smalkin, a retired chief judge of the U.S. District Court of Maryland who is a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.
» Nicholas J. Paros of Bel Air, a former state trooper and Natural Resources Police officer who now works for an international security consulting firm.
» James L. Ballard Jr. of Bel Air, a former director of law enforcement for the Pentagon.
» Jacques Ramon Cowan of Crownsville, a detective with the Montgomery County Police Department and task force officer for the regional field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
» Daniel F.C. Crowley of Bethesda, an attorney at a Washington, D.C., firm who specializes in financial services policy.
The five-member handgun board was left with almost no one on it after state senators refused to confirm Hogan’s appointees during the last General Assembly session. The new appointees can serve until the next General Assembly session, when senators would decide whether to confirm them or not.
The next session is also when senators and delegates are likely to vote to override Hogan’s veto and allow their bill to become law — dissolving the handgun board entirely.
The next regular General Assembly session is scheduled for January.
It’s possible that a special session could be called sooner than that if the Supreme Court rules that some or all of Maryland’s congressional district boundaries must be redrawn. The court heard arguments earlier this year in a case over whether the state’s 6th Congressional District was drawn unconstitutionally, and a ruling is expected by the end of June.
The handgun board hears appeals of Maryland State Police decisions on applications for permits to carry a handgun. There are about 520 appeals pending before the handgun board.
Under Hogan, the board has routinely granted more than 80 percent of the requests from handgun owners, who by law must prove they have a “good and substantial reason” to obtain a permit.
If Hogan’s veto is overridden and the handgun board is dissolved, appeals would be heard by administrative law judges.