Holstered gun
A holstered handgun / Stephen Gutowski

Maryland Governor Ends Subjective ‘Good Reason’ Standard for Gun-Carry Permits

More Marylanders will soon be able to legally carry concealed firearms for protection.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R.) announced on Tuesday he would abide by a recent Supreme Court ruling and do away with the subjective “good and substantial reason” clause in the state’s gun-carry permitting process. The change will make it easier for qualified applicants to obtain concealed carry permits. It is a direct response to the Court striking down a similar provision in New York’s carry law as unconstitutional.

“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,” Hogan said in a press release. “It would be unconstitutional to continue enforcing this provision in state law.”

The decision comes as states grapple with how to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision. Maryland is attempting to avoid likely-fruitless legal fights to keep its current restrictive permitting laws in place, while states like New York and California are passing laws trying to sidestep the ruling.

The change to Maryland’s law will result in the state issuing far more permits.

Maryland had fewer than 24,000 active carry permits in 2021, according to a study by the Crime Prevention Research Center. The same study found neighboring Virginia, which uses a permitting system without a “good reason” clause, had over three-quarters of a million active permits. While Maryland has a smaller population than Virginia, if it began issuing permits at the same rate, it would end up with over half a million.

Gun-rights advocates cheered the decision.

“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,” Mark Pennak, President of Maryland Shall Issue, said in a statement. “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.”

But not everyone agreed. Many Democrats in the state attacked the decision. Delegate Marlon Amprey called it a “poor decision.”

“A man who always gripes about gun violence and the lack of ‘Law and Order’ just stripped us of a good law and is now going to allow more people to carry guns who likely shouldn’t,” Amprey tweeted. “All of this after we had multiple mass shootings yesterday.”

Delegate Ariana Kelly tweeted she was “horrified” and called the decision “disgusting. State Comptroller Peter Franchot, who is leading polls in the fast-approaching Democratic primary for governor, said Hogan “has followed in the footsteps of the Supreme Court by taking Maryland backwards on gun safety.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kelly Schultz, who led the race in the latest Baltimore Sun poll, said Hogan made the right choice in abiding by the Supreme Court’s decision. She slammed Attorney General Brian Frosh (D.) for “weeks of dragging his feet” on complying with the Court.

“I commend Governor Hogan for doing what the Attorney General has repeatedly failed to do on this issue – follow the laws of this nation,” she said in a statement. “Our state already has laws on the books which prohibit violent criminals, abusers, and those with mental illness from owning firearms – as governor, I will enforce these laws. Repeat violent offenders who commit crimes with illegal guns are the problem, not law-abiding citizens.”

Hogan noted several other jurisdictions, including California and New York, have halted enforcement of their subjective “good reason” clauses. He emphasized the rest of the state’s permitting requirements, such as completing gun safety training and passing a background check, remained in place. Maryland State Police said they are currently updating procedures to comply with Hogan’s order.

“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,” the agency said in a statement. “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.”

Maryland carry permit applications can be submitted online but take up to 90 days to process.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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