So Much For Being “The Free State”

One of the state nicknames for Maryland is the Free State. With the passage of draconian gun control by the Maryland House of Delegates yesterday, that nickname should be called into question. The bill in question, SB 281, now returns to the State Senate for concurrence.

The bill would ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles with cosmetics the proponents don’t like; would require training, a license, and fingerprinting to purchase a handgun; and would ban the sale and transfer of  all magazines with greater than 10 round capacity. The bill would also require the registration of all currently possessed “assault pistols” and “assault weapons”.  Failure to do so would result in fines and an up to one year prison term. Maryland Shall Issue has an excellent summary of the provisions of the bill here.

The NRA-ILA issued an alert last night urging Marylanders to contact their state senator and Senate President Mike Miller. As they noted, this will be the last chance to stop this legislation. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) has been a major proponent of gun control legislation and will sign this bill if passed by the Senate.

UPDATE: The Maryland Senate gave final approval to the bill yesterday and it has been sent to Gov. Martin O’Malley for his signature. At this point, the only thing that could delay its implementation is if opponents gather enough signatures to get it put on the ballot in November 2014 as a referendum item.

Huge Turnout Wednesday In Maryland For Gun Rights

When the Washington Post runs a story that says “Gun rights advocates marshaled one of the biggest crowds to descend on Annapolis for a bill hearing in years”, you know it was a big turnout. In other words, it was too big a crowd for even the anti-rights mainstream media to minimize.

While the question remains whether the Democrat-dominated legislature will listen to gun rights supporters or to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) who is trying to vie with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York on gun control, the report from Maryland Shall Issue (see below) on the event gives some measure of hope on the issue.

Yesterday Maryland Shall Issue, in concert with the NRA, the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, staged the largest “Gun Day” rally in the history of our state – official state estimates count 4,000 pro-rights supporters who converged at our statehouse for a morning rally and afternoon hearings in the Senate.

We literally shut the place down. Soon after the hearing, I got a call from the MD Capital Police. They told us the building was already at maximum capacity and that fire code meant no more entrants.

This was more than a rally. Our people all showed up to attend the hearing and to testify. Even after locking out our many members, there would be more than 1,000 people in line to testify. Just getting your name on the list of witnesses took six hours. Every person stood in line, eager to get their voices heard. Unfortunately, the chairman of the committee – Senator Brian Frosh – is a the largest Gun Control Advocate in the state. He decided to unilaterally cut off testimony after 4 hours from each side. Even when reduced, the Gun Controllers ran out witnesses. They had them on the list to testify, but after 5 PM many were no where to be found. They were mostly government employees – it looks like their interest in Gun Control ended when the paychecks ran out. The Chairman eventually reduced “testimony” to nothing more than your name and town. That’s it. That was was his idea of how to let people petition their government. Our side went until they literally told us to leave. The last name was spoken at almost 10 PM.

We had an effect. Publicly many admit that licensing is dead; that registration is about to fail; and privately there is talk that even the AWB is at risk. They are splitting the Governor’s bill into smaller bills, because as of today they big one would not pass either chamber.

We are not guaranteed a final win on everything. But this was supposed to be a cake walk for them, and the people of this state are going to make them work for it.

Maryland Shall Issue has been asked what we would compromise – whether we could “throw them a bone.” We told them that we would not compromise a single right. They told us that means we could lose. Our membership is united: we would rather have all of our rights stolen from us, than to willingly give up even one.

Everyone keep us in their prayers. We are holding our line in this fight. Pray we hold it until the end.

Perhaps this testimony from Maryland-based gun maker Beretta as reported by the Washington Post might have some influence as well.

Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for firearm manufacturer Beretta, which has a plant in Accokeek, warned lawmakers that O’Malley’s bill, which outlaws 45 types of weapons and their knockoffs, could have a severe impact on the company’s business. He also said that because gun manufacturers in Maryland are required to register as firearm dealers, it’s unclear whether the company would still be allowed to export guns for sale in other states.

“We’re confronted with a state government that wants to ban the products we make,” Reh said. “Not surprisingly, we are concerned.”

Maryland Shall Issue Needs Your Help

The President of Maryland Shall Issue has requested our help in getting the word out. We’ve seen what happened in New York and Maryland could be next. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) like Andrew Cuomo has his eyes on the White House and is not above trashing the Second Amendment to get there.

From Patrick:

We published our “Call To Action” a few days back and folks have been hitting their reps in the statehouse pretty solid. Lawmakers are on alert, and we haven’t even seen the full text of the coming bills yet. We are told that O’Malley was looking to catch up to Cuomo, but this was before yesterday’s presser with Obama. That is being viewed by some up here with mixed feelings. It seemed more propaganda than motion, and with Harry Reid suggesting he won’t let an AWB move, there are bets back and forth on which direction O’Malley will swing, and just how hard he will press. I think we are going to have one hell of a fight, either way.

The Call To Action can be found here. If you are a Maryland resident, you need to keep checking the Maryland Shall Issue website for updates.

I had the pleasure of meeting Patrick at the 2012 Gun Rights Policy Conference. He and Maryland Shall Issue are really on top of things and know how to leverage technology to their advantage. I’m glad he’s on our side and not the side of the gun prohibitionists.

Maryland Shall Issue On The Lifting Of The Stay In Woollard Decision

With US District Court Judge Benson Legg’s lifting of his temporary stay in Woollard v. Sheridan, the Maryland State Police will have to start processing carry permit applications without regard to the “good and substantial reason” requirement.

Maryland Shall Issue has released a 5-point analysis of what the lifting of the stay will mean for Marylanders.

  • On August 8th, MSP will begin to process carry permit applications without regard to the “good and substantial reason” clause that was ruled unconstitutional back in March. Please bear in mind that the state of Maryland may ask the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (CA4) for an emergency stay of the Woollard ruling. If they ask for a stay and it is granted, MSP may decide to “sit” on applications until the appeal is decided.
  • The appeal of the Woollard decision itself remains before CA4. They may side with the state and overturn the lower court’s ruling, or they may uphold the decision. While the order lifting the stay is unquestionably good news, appeal itself is far more important.
  • We anticipate that MSP will receive another flood of carry permit applications. While the law requires that MSP process permit applications within 90 days, the sheer volume of paperwork involved will make that deadline very difficult if not impossible to meet. The court system is inclined to give an entity like MSP some leeway if they are processing applications in good faith. MSI will be monitoring any delays to ensure that it is good faith delays.
  • Remember that while the appeals process plays out, it is possible that permits could be denied or revoked if CA4 or the Supreme Court rules in the state’s favor. To that end, we encourage you to avoid spending money that you cannot afford to lose in the process of applying for a carry permit.
  • Expect that Anti-2A forces in the Maryland General Assembly will press hard to find new ways to deny your rights.

Maryland Shall Issue On The Woollard Decision

Patrick Shomo, President of the Maryland Shall Issue -The Citizens Defense League of Maryland, released this statement today regarding the great win in the Woollard case.

On Woollard

“A citizen may not be required to offer a good and substantial reason why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right‘s existence is all the reason he needs.”

That simple truth was all it took to rule that Maryland unconstitutionally denies carry permits to law-abiding people. The US Federal District Court in Baltimore reminded us – in a single line – that our civil rights belong to ‘We, The People’, and not ‘They, The Government’.

Maryland Shall Issue welcomes this ruling. Maryland law required the issuance of a carry permit to law-abiding people only if they meet one or more requirements, including a “Good and Substantial Cause” above that of the average citizen. The Court ruled that such a requirement could not survive the scrutiny of the US Constitution. The right to armed defense is one of the few enumerated, fundamental rights that we possess, and the state may not simply wish it away.

The impact of this decision – in the immediate case – is that the law used to deny your rights is unconstitutional. Technically, this makes Maryland a Shall-Issue state, as of now. MSI anticipated this decision and supported this case through funding and outreach. We are excited by the win, but also ready for the next steps. The state will not take this quietly, and has already announced their intention to appeal the ruling and also to request a stay on its implementation. It will likely be several weeks before such action is contemplated by the courts.

During that time, many have asked MSI, “What does this mean for me, and is now the time to apply?”

We say: If you can afford the fees, feel free to apply. It will tell the state to stop denying you the lawful exercise of your rights.

While arguing this case, the state claimed that their approval rate is greater than 90%, while conveniently omitting the fact that few will apply for a permit they know the state will not approve. The state has also claimed that the people of Maryland have little interest in this fundamental civil right. They are wrong.

Your application will join many others. We do not know how the state will handle your application. Technically, under this ruling the state cannot deny you for failure to provide a ‘Good and Substantial Cause’ to exercise your right. That said, no outcome is assured when dealing with Maryland politicians bent on maintaining a system of patronage that approves 25 years of permits for well-connected bankers, but never one for the common man. The state will fight – they might delay application processing through the time of their appeal. They are going to ask the courts to let them continue to deny our rights while they spend yet more taxpayer dollars crafting inane arguments that claim Maryland residents are more likely to commit crime when exercising their right than the 43 states that are Shall-Issue. It is clear that the state believes law-abiding Maryland people are simply more bestial than the rest of the nation. In the end, Maryland’s tired arguments will fail. When the higher courts affirm this ruling, each application denied is a civil right denied. And in the event the state does not get their stay, well…then Maryland Shall Issue.

If times are tough for you, please stand by. In spite of this ruling, there is risk when dealing with a state that has done all in its power to deny your civil rights for decades. We promise there are going to be many ways to assist in the weeks and months ahead.

As for the application itself, when it asks for “Reason for handgun permit” (9a), please note “For Self Defense and All Lawful Purposes”. You need not attach documented threats or police reports, but if you have them please do so. If someone from the state discourages you from applying or attempts to prevent your application from consideration, get their name and let us know immediately.

Remember this: the State of Maryland is on the hook to explain to the Federal Courts and the People of Maryland why they continually deny a fundamental civil right. Your rights do not come from the government – they are yours and the government cannot remove them just because they wish your compliance. Every lawful person denied the exercise of this right is another violation of basic civil rights.

If you choose to apply, please share your story with us and let us know how you progress through the system. MSI intends to follow as many applications as possible and share general statistics with our partners. We are watching the state. We will not release your personal info to anyone without your express written consent. Just drop us an email and join the rest of us in demanding our rights be recognized, today.

 The following is the contact info for Maryland Shall Issue:


Postal Mail:

Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.
1332 Cape St. Claire Rd #342
Annapolis, MD 21409


(410) 849-9197