The state of Maryland isn’t exactly the most pro-gun state in the nation. With its proximity to DC, that’s not overly surprising, but it’s still a shame.
However, it’s often useful to see how a state has approached gun issues, particularly between a switch in governors, and in this, Maryland is pretty useful.
Over at 19fortyfive, they did just that.
Maryland’s “one brief shining moment” (to use both an Arthurian and JFK-ish analogy) as a state that respected the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in general and armed citizens’ concealed carry rights, in particular, was nice while it lasted. Since Wes Moore replaced Larry Hogan as Governor of Maryland, the state has, perhaps not unsurprisingly, started reverting to its bad old ways.
But equally unsurprisingly, gun rights groups are fighting back and refusing to take the anti-gun politician’s actions sitting down. Let’s take a look at the recent history and status of this legal fight.
That “one brief shining moment” was when Gov. Larry Hogan said that the state would comply with the Bruen decision and not try to find a way around the court ruling.
And that’s about it.
Hogan had previously signed at least two gun control laws just a few years prior, which means Maryland’s “shining moment” was incredibly brief.
After that, though, things really started to get wonky.
Fast-forward to May 2023, and new Gov. Moore has demonstrated himself to be cut from the same cloth as Kathy Hochul, i.e. that whole bit about the Constitution being “the supreme Law of the Land” being conveniently ignored. Mr. Moore signed legislation that bans firearms in public spaces like schools, bars, restaurants, performance venues, polling places, and more. The new laws will require some establishments to display a sign indicating whether concealed carry is allowed in that building. In addition, the new dictates will increase the fee for an initial application for a handgun permit from $75 to $125; the fee for renewal or subsequent application for a handgun permit increases from $50 to $75, and the expenses incurred for a duplicate or modified handgun permit double down from $10 to $20.
Moore’s rationalization? One of his spokespersons wrote, “Governor Moore is committed to signing legislation to help curb the gun violence epidemic.”
Obviously, that rationalization is nonsense.
We know that people with carry permits are the most law-abiding people in the nation. Studies have shown they’re less likely to break a law than police officers, doctors, and even judges.
As such, making it harder to get a permit doesn’t curb gun violence in the least. If anything, it encourages it since it makes it less likely a criminal’s potential target is lawfully carrying a firearm.
That also goes for additional restrictions on where people can carry. After all, it’s not just barring people from carrying to those locations, it’s essentially barring them from carrying to and from those locations, which increases the areas where these folks could be targeted.
Now, it should be noted that these measures aren’t being tolerated meekly. Gun rights groups are fighting back, and the author acknowledges that these are profound restrictions that are unlikely to survive a legal challenge.
That’s the good news for Maryland.
The bad news is that the state has embraced gun control as some kind of answer, so it’s unlikely we’ll see them just shrug at the courts overturning a law. Instead, they’ll try and tailor new measures that will be as restrictive as they think they can get away with.
Which is a shame, because there are a lot of good folks in Maryland.