Gov. Larry Hogan has directed the Maryland State Police to suspend the state’s “good and substantial reason” standard for obtaining a permit to carry a concealed handgun in light of last month’s Supreme Court decision.
“It would be unconstitutional to continue enforcing this provision of state law,” Hogan said Tuesday in a statement. “There is no impact on other permitting requirements and protocols.”
The Republican governor’s call follows the court’s 6-3 opinion last month, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, that found that a New York law requiring applicants to demonstrate “proper cause” to successfully receive a concealed carry permit violated the Second and 14th amendments.
Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, a Democrat, last month said he opposed the court’s decision and that his office would examine its impact on state policy. He has not yet produced the results.
The Baltimore Sun reached out to Frosh’s office for comment on Hogan’s decision, but did not receive an immediate response.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kelly M. Schulz railed against Frosh Tuesday for his lack of public action since the ruling.
“[Frosh] swore an oath to uphold all laws, not just the ones he likes,” Schulz said in a statement.
Endorsed by Hogan after serving in his administration, she’s running against Del. Dan Cox and two others for the Republican nomination.
On its website, the Maryland State Police announced that it was in the process of “updating the Licensing Portal to reflect these changes.” Until the update has been completed, applicants are to choose “Personal Protection / Category Not Listed Above” as their permit category. No supporting documents will be required.
“The Maryland State Police Licensing Division staff will continue to promptly investigate and approve those eligible for a wear and carry permit, while ensuring those prohibited by law are not approved,” spokesperson Elena Russo said in a statement.
Maryland’s concealed carry law requires applicants to provide a legally established reason for their desire to carry a firearm outside of their home, and is similar to the one stricken in New York.
Republicans hailed the June decision as a victory and declared the state’s existing policy discriminatory.
Maryland Policy & Politics
Maryland’s legislature had never assigned a clear definition regarding what a “good and substantial reason” is, leaving the Maryland State Police to decide on a case-by-case basis.
House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat, tweeted in opposition to Hogan’s Tuesday directive, pointing to a mass shooting Monday at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park and two police officers being shot at a similar event in Philadelphia.
“Between now and January the Maryland House of Delegates will look at every option to curb the proliferation of guns on the street. As the Highland Park and Philadelphia shootings have shown us — more guns do not make us safer,” Jones wrote. “We will pass meaningful and reasonable limitations to ensure the safety of our families and children.”
Like Jones, Senate President Bill Ferguson said that he is looking to the 2023 legislative session to address compliance with the court’s opinion, quashing any inquiries surrounding the potential of a special session. Unlike some states, Maryland lawmakers do their legislating during a 90-day period starting each January.
“Next Session, the Maryland General Assembly will pass legislation that adheres to the new precedent set by this Supreme Court while ensuring reasonable restrictions to keep our families and communities safe,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Now more than ever in history, we must pass laws protecting all Marylanders from potential gun violence.”
Maryland Shall Issue, a gun owners’ rights organization, applauded Hogan’s decision in a statement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
“For the first time in decades, ordinary, responsible, law-abiding citizens in Maryland will have their Second Amendment right for self-defense outside the home respected,” said Mark W. Pennak, the group’s president.