MSI Spring 2022 Legal Update

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Despite all of the necessary attention to the General Assembly and our work to fight off as much bad legislation as possible, MSI has been tirelessly involved in litigation on numerous fronts.

Maryland Shall Issue, et al. v. Montgomery County (Bill 4-21 challenge)
MSI recently filed a supplemental brief and motion to expedite the challenge to Montgomery County's ban on privately made firearms, gun parts, and restrictions on carry. Find the filing HERE and read all about this case HERE.

Maryland Shall Issue, et al. v. Anne Arundel County
There are now two cases carrying this name. Earlier this year, MSI, Cindy's Hot Shots, Field Traders, Worth-A-Shot, and Pasadena Arms filed suit in Anne Arundel Circuit Court against Anne Arundel County challenging on preemption and vagueness grounds the County's enactment of Bill 109-21. That County ordinance burdens dealers with expensive and onerous security requirements and requires dealers to obtain County Police approval in order to do business. Learn all about the case HERE.

Last week, MSI and those same four dealers also filed a new suit in federal district court challenging Bill 108-21, an ordinance that mandates that sellers of firearms or ammunition within the county distribute county-prepared or sponsored literature with each sale and display the materials in their establishments. The complaint alleges that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Read it HERE.

Hulbert v. Pope (First and Fourth Amendments, Qualified Immunity)

The case against Sgt. Pope of the Capital Police Department for violating the civil rights of two MSI members continues to progress in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where the case is being briefed. The District Court denied qualified immunity to Officer Pope for his arrests of Jeff and Kevin Hulbert in front of Lawyer's Mall in February 2018. The State appealed that decision, asserting the arrests were proper and that filming the police was not a clearly established 1st Amendment right. Learn more about this case HERE.

Maryland Shall Issue v. Hogan (HQL Challenge) and Call v. Jones (Carry permits)

These two cases are both being held in abeyance at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit pending a decision by the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, a 2nd Amendment challenge to the requirements and restrictions placed upon carry permits in New York. Bruen was argued on November 3rd and a ruling could come any time. Typically, a ruling in such an important case come down at the end of the Court's Term in June or July. An opinion in favor of the plaintiffs in Bruen (which we expect) would likely doom Maryland's "good and substantial reason" requirement for issuance of permits challenged in Call. Such a ruling would make Maryland a "shall issue" State.

The Court's reasoning in Bruen could also change how 2nd Amendment cases are analyzed and thus control the outcome in MSI's Second Amendment challenge to the HQL statute in MSI v. Hogan. The Court appears to be sitting on Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs Inc. v. Bruck, pending a decision in Bruen. In that case, plaintiffs have challenged New Jersey's ban on magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. The Court also requested a response from the State of Maryland in Bianchi v. Frosh, a challenge to the State's ban on common semi-automatic rifles and shotguns on Maryland's so-called "assault weapons" list. Maryland filed that response on April 15 and likewise suggested in the alternative that the Court hold the case pending a decision in Bruen. Plainly, much turns on the Court's opinion in Bruen. Stay tuned.

Latest News

Maryland Shall Issue

On July 5th, 2022, Governor Larry Hogan issued the following statement:

“Over the course of my administration, I have consistently supported the right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry firearms, while enacting responsible and common sense measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

“Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision in New York law pertaining to handgun permitting that is virtually indistinguishable from Maryland law. In light of the ruling and to ensure compliance with the Constitution, I am directing the Maryland State Police to immediately suspend utilization of the ‘good and substantial reason’ standard when reviewing applications for Wear and Carry Permits. It would be unconstitutional to continue enforcing this provision in state law. There is no impact on other permitting requirements and protocols.

“Today’s action is in line with actions taken by other states in response to the recent ruling.”

In response, the Maryland State Police provided this advisory

The Maryland State Police Licensing Division is in the process of updating the Licensing Portal to reflect these changes. Until these updates are complete, applicants submitting a Wear and Carry Permit application are directed to select “Personal Protection / Category Not Listed Above” as their “Handgun Permit Category”. Applicants are not required to attach documents to the “PERSONAL PROTECTION DOCUMENTATION” section on the “Upload Documents” page of the Wear and Carry Permit application.

Additional information and a link to the Licensing Portal, can be found on the Maryland State Police website. Maryland State Police Licensing Division.

We welcome the Governor's order and the decision to comply with the Supreme Court's decision in Bruen. 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. We stress that permit holders, nationwide, are the most law-abiding persons there are, with crime rates far below that of commissioned police officers. The Second Amendment is not a threat to the public. It protects the right of self-defense and that protection is fully consistent with public safety.

For everything on how to apply for a Maryland Wear and Carry permit, check out our in-depth guide HERE.

We are pleased and gratified that Maryland's "good and substantial reason" requirement will no longer be enforced. MSI has pushed for that result for as long as it has existed and the Supreme Court has now confirmed that carry outside the home by responsible, law-abiding citizens is a fundamental constitutional right. At last, Marylanders will be treated like people in other "shall issue" jurisdictions, like the residents of 43 other States and the District of Columbia.

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"Good and Substantial Reason" is Unconstitutional



On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) v. Bruen, striking down as unconstitutional New York's  "proper cause" requirement for issuance of a permit to carry a handgun in public. That decision is directly applicable to Maryland's "good and substantial reason" requirement for the issuance of Maryland carry permits. MD Code, Public Safety, 5-306(b)(6)(ii). As Bruen now holds, the Maryland State Police (MSP) may not require any "good and substantial reason" before issuing a permit. The decision makes clear that law-abiding, responsible adults have a constitutional right to protect themselves beyond their homes with a handgun, which is the "quintessential self-defense" weapon, as the Supreme Court held in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008). While we believe that the Court's holding in Bruen is clear, MSI is currently a party in Call v. Jones, which is a federal court challenge to the "good and substantial reason" requirement. This case is currently before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and was being held in abeyance (on pause) pending the outcome of Bruen. Now that Bruen has been decided, that case will proceed. Indeed, the Fourth Circuit has just issued an order setting a briefing schedule in that appeal.
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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