MSI Challenges the Handgun Qualification License (HQL)

HQL photo

September 30th, 2016

Today, Maryland Shall Issue, Atlantic Guns of Rockville and Silver Spring, MD, and several individual citizens of Maryland filed suit in federal district court in Baltimore, challenging every aspect of the Handgun Qualification License (HQL) requirements imposed by the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, and the implementing regulations and practices imposed by the Maryland State Police in 2013.  A copy of the complaint, as filed in court, can be found HERE on the Maryland Shall Issue website.

Briefly summarized, the suit alleges that the Handgun Qualification License requirements, both as set forth in the statute, and as implemented by the Maryland State Police, violate the Second Amendment of the Constitution by placing unjustifiable and overwhelming burdens on the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase a handgun for the home. The suit further alleges that aspects of the statute and the regulations violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by, among other things, imposing such vague requirements that citizens are exposed to a profound risk of discriminatory and arbitrary arrest and prosecution. Finally, the suit directly attacks the regulations issued by the Maryland State Police on a variety of state law grounds. Those regulations and practices impose even more onerous requirements, not required by the statute, and are thus illegal under well-established principles of Maryland administrative law.

The HQL requirements, particularly as implemented by the State Police, were intended to create as many obstacles to the purchase of a handgun as possible and thus effectively ration the exercise of constitutional rights to the few who have the substantial time, money, specialized knowledge and sheer determination to navigate all these roadblocks to the exercise of a constitutional right. That result is wrong and simply cannot be meekly accepted without a fight. That fight is now on.

Our legal counsel in this suit is Cary J. Hansel, Hansel Law, PC, 2514 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. While the State of Maryland is sure to resist and it is always hazardous to predict litigation, we look forward to working with Cary to achieve a successful outcome in this case.

This is just the first step.  There is a still a long road ahead and we will need your continued help and support as this suit proceeds.

Sincerely,
Mark Pennak
President Maryland Shall Issue

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Case Documents and History
US District Court for the District of Maryland Case# Case 1:16-cv-03311-ELH*
*Case originally assigned to Judge Marvin J. Garbis (ret.)

9/30/16 - Complaint
12/2/16 - Defendants' Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss
12/28/16 - Amended Complaint
1/20/17 - Defendants' Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint
2/28/17 - Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
3/20/17 - Defendants' Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss
9/6/17 - MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part 18 Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint
7/26/18 - Case reassigned to Judge Ellen L. Hollander
8/17/18 - Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
10/5/18 - Plaintiffs' Memorandum for Cross Motion for Summar Judgment and Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
3/31/19 - ORDER granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
4/25/19 - Plaintiffs' Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

See the full docket HERE

US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Case# 19-1469
8/3/20 - JUDGMENT of USCA affirming in part and reversing in part. Remanding to the District Court for further proceedings

Case returned to US District Court
9/8/20 - Mandate of Fourth Circuit takes effect
11/25/20 - Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
1/27/21 - Plaintiffs' Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
8/23/21 - Memorandum Opinion dismissing suit
9/10/21 - Notice of Appeal
9/16/21 - USCA Case Number 21-2017 for Notice of Appeal

US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Case# 21-2017
9/16/21 - Case docketed
9/27/21 - Order Consolidating Cases 21-2017 and 21-2053
10/6/21 - Plaintiffs' (Appellants) Motion to Hold Appeal in Abeyance
10/6/21 - State's Response to Motion to Hold Appeal in Abeyance due 10/18/2021
10/14/21 - Appellees’ (State) Opposition to Motion to Hold Appeal in Abeyance
10/14/21 - Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion to Hold Appeal in Abeyance
11/2/21 - Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion to Hold Appeal in Abeyance
6/23/22 - 28(j) Letter to Court Re: NYSRPA v. Bruen
6/24/22 - Briefing Order (Scheduling Order)

 

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.

Read more ...

"Good and Substantial Reason" is Unconstitutional

 

6/24/2022

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.
Read more ...

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Maryland Shall Issue®, Inc.
9613 Harford Rd
Ste C #1015
Baltimore, MD 21234-2150

Phone:  410-849-9197
Email: 
Web:   www.marylandshallissue.org