As we expand our featured states that make it a habit of infringing on Americans' 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, Maryland, and its anti-gun zealots is likely one of the next ones we'll tackle. Despite the state capital, Baltimore, having some of worst gun violence numbers in the country, the state senate rejected three nominees for the handgun permit review board because the board approves too many of the carry permits that come before it.
(If you stay out of Baltimore, the state appears a lot safer, and it's restrictive gun laws have earned it an A- grade from Gabby Giffords anti-2nd Amendment group.)
Want a Carry Permit?
If you want a carry permit in Maryland, you need to prove to your the state police that you have a "good and substantial" reason to carry a handgun in self-defense. Needless to say, this may-issue (as in, the state police may issue you a permit, or it may not) policy often results in very few being allowed to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.
Those that get permission are often rich, famous, or politically connected.
From December 2017 through November 2018, the board heard 269 appeals. It reversed or modified the decisions of the Maryland State Police 222 times, according to data provided by the board.
Sen. Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, said he believes the handgun board members are not as impartial as they should be.
“The philosophy is driving the decisions. The facts and the law are not,” Ferguson said.
The assumption is that the board is going rogue when it approves or modifies these carry permits. Equally possible is that the state police are unreasonable when it comes to applying the "good and substantial" standard.
What does this mean for the general public?
Nothing changes just yet. Many of the legislators who are dismayed by the reversal rate of the board in the past have proposed legislation that would hand that function to unaccountable judges. That legislation, however, has not passed the state legislature yet, and decisions are still being made by the review board.
In the meantime, absent a pro-2nd Amendment groundswell in that deep blue state, or a Supreme Court ruling that forces something akin to shall-issue on these recalcitrant states, the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves in Maryland will be severely restricted.
Criminals, on the other hand, will continue to carry guns with impunity.