Maryland Legislators Vote to Eliminate the State’s Handgun Permit Review Board

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posted on February 5, 2020
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Thad Zajdowicz courtesy Flickr

Maryland legislators voted January 30th to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto of a 2019 bill that repealed the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board.

The Maryland General Assembly voted 30-16 in the Senate and 89-49 in the House of Delegates to override the governor’s veto of SB1000/HB1343. In Maryland, a three-fifths vote (29 in the Senate, 85 in the House) is required to override a veto.

The bill passed in the 2019 legislative session by votes of 30-16 in the Senate and 87-47 in the House. In his veto letter, Gov. Hogan said that repealing the board “fails to do anything to improve public safety. Instead it threatens the ability of law-abiding citizens to appeal decisions regarding handgun permits…. [A]bolishing the Handgun Permit Review Board is not a solution to violent crime problems. It is just another in a long series of politically-motivated and ill-conceived power grabs.” He added that the change “does nothing to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of violent criminals or seriously mentally ill persons.”

“HB1343/SB1000 dissolves this board, thus removing all public oversight, and making all appeals cumbersome, difficult, and costly,” reported the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

The Handgun Permit Review Board was created in 1972 and is comprised of five members selected by the governor. It allowed individuals who were denied a concealed-carry permit to file an appeal.

Maryland is one of eight “may-issue” states in the country. Marylanders must provide a “good and substantial” reason to obtain a concealed-carry permit to the Maryland State Police, which then makes the determination whether or not to issue a permit.

“Because of this requirement, Maryland residents must prove they are under some extraordinary imminent threat in order to be granted a permit. This effectively bans most citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights outside of their homes,” reported the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

A 21-state coalition asked the U.S. Supreme Court in a Nov. 18 friend-of-the-court brief to hear a challenge to Maryland’s “may-issue” law. The NRA also filed a brief in support of the challenge.

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