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
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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.