Maryland 2A group threatens new lawsuits as state says SCOTUS opinion "under review"

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Even though the Supreme Court was crystal clear in last Thursday’s opinion in NYSPRA v. Bruen that “may issue” laws requiring applicants to demonstrate “good cause” or a “justifiable need” are unconstitutional, the Maryland State Police and the state Attorney General’s office have yet to update their standards for applying for a carry license, saying only that the Court’s decision is “under review.” Now, the head of one of the leading Second Amendment groups in the state is encouraging gun owners to apply for their licenses and promising to sue the state if they don’t accept and adopt the Court’s decision immediately.

Maryland Shall Issue’s Mark Pennak says the “good and substantial reason” language in the state’s current concealed carry permit application is clearly a violation of the Second Amendment, and that any more delays will lead to the state getting hauled into court for depriving residents of their constitutional rights.

The Maryland State Police and the Maryland Attorney General’s office say the state handgun permit process remains in effect but is being reviewed, according to spokespersons for the agencies.

“The Maryland State Police Licensing Division is aware of the US Supreme Court’s decision and it is under legal review by the Attorney General’s Office,” said the agency in a written statement.

Any changes to permitting rules and procedures will be announced on the Maryland State Police Licensing Division webpage.

As new applications for permits continue to pile up, Pennak says anymore delay will be a recipe for “an avalanche” of lawsuits directed at Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

“So the more he delays the longer that queue will be, and the more likelihood the state will pay some more lawsuits,” Pennak warned.

Key Maryland legislators plan to meet Wednesday to discuss strategies on how the state can comply with the Supreme Court ruling without putting more guns on the street.

Here’s a hint for those “key” lawmakers: you cannot comply with the Supreme Court’s decision if you’re preventing the average citizen from obtaining a license that allows them to carry in most publicly accessible places. And given that there are likely hundreds of thousands of Marylanders who would like to carry a firearm in self-defense, it’s inevitable that a true “shall issue” system will in fact lead to “more guns on the street.” In fact, in vocally stating that they want to continue to deprive the average citizen of their right to bear arms in self-defense, these lawmakers have demonstrated that they have no real intention of complying with the Court’s decision. Sure, they may drop the “good and substantial reason” language, but as long as their goal is to limit the number of law-abiding Marylanders legally carrying firearms it’s nonsensical for them to claim that they’re following the directions by the Supreme Court.

We’re going to get into a deeper discussion about this on today’s Cam & Co this afternoon, but I’d remind Maryland AG Brian Frosh and all the other anti-gun politicians what the Bruen decision actually said about what the right to bear arms protects.

Throughout modern Anglo-American history, the right to keep and bear arms in public has traditionally been subject to well-defined restrictions governing the intent for which one could carry arms, the manner of carry, or the exceptional circumstances under which one could not carry arms. But apart from a handful of late19th-century jurisdictions, the historical record compiled by respondents does not demonstrate a tradition of broadly prohibiting the public carry of commonly used firearms for self-defense. Nor is there any such historical tradition limiting public carry only to those law-abiding citizens who demonstrate a special need for self-defense.

According to Thomas, there must be “exceptional circumstances” in order for a law-abiding gun owner to be deprived of their right to carry, and the broader the prohibition, the more likely it is to be unconstitutional. This is not a recipe for “anyone to carry any gun anywhere at all times,” as gun control activists have falsely claimed, but it is a declaration that most Americans possess the right to carry a firearm that’s in common use for self-defense in most publicly accessible places. It’s a real right, in other words, and it has to be treated as such.

While Maryland Democrats are vowing to do everything they can to prevent more residents from carrying a gun to protect themselves, the city of Baltimore is on pace for its eighth straight year with more than 300 homicides. None of the state’s gun control laws have curtailed violent crime in its most populous city, and yet the same Democrats who are working to make it as hard as possible to protect yourself from violent criminals are also making life easier for criminals, including rejecting a proposal by Republicans in the state legislature to make theft of a firearm a felony offense as well as a plan by Gov. Larry Hogan to increase the penalties for repeat violent offenders. Their “public safety plan” looks to empower criminals far more than it protects public safety, especially when they’re intent on making it impossible for the general public to protect themselves.