Maryland’s “May Issue” concealed carry law means “maybe when pigs fly.” Time to change that.
Here’s an example of why “may issue” concealed-carry permit laws may as well be considered concealed-carry bans: Maryland. Although its laws state that it’s possible to get a CCW, in practice the state basically will not issue you a permit unless you are actively being murdered. Citizens’ lobbying groups haven’t been able to change that; pro-Second Amendment direction from the Supreme Court hasn’t been able to change that. Now, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is rolling up its sleeves to try to change “may issue” (which means “maybe someday if we feel like it, and we won’t”) to “shall issue” (which means “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed”).
How are they doing that? A lawsuit.
The Second Amendment Foundation is suing the state of Maryland in a federal challenge of Maryland’s prohibitive concealed carry regulations. How prohibitive are they? Remember our little joke in the last paragraph about needing to prove that you are actively being murdered? That wasn’t much of a joke. The lawsuit shows that Maryland’s requirement that applicants for carry permits must provide documented evidence of concrete threats or recent assaults to obtain a permit, otherwise known as the “good and substantial reason” excuse for not approving the application.
The Second Amendment Foundation isn’t just suing Maryland because the “good and substantial reason” is (and always has been) the existence of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment Foundation is also suing Maryland because the state’s practice of routinely denying CCW permits to law-abiding citizens has had what’s called a “chilling effect” on gun rights in the state.
The “Chilling Effect”
As they note in the lawsuit, “Only a tiny fraction of a percent of Maryland citizens are able to obtain permits to carry handguns, and indeed, most people simply never apply at all because it is well known throughout the State that the ‘good and substantial reason’ standard effectively renders the process an exercise in futility for all ordinary law-abiding citizens, thus further chilling and denying exercise of the right.” It amounts to an unconstitutional regulatory scheme.
“Anti-gun Maryland officials have been using this dodge for years,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “By setting this arbitrary standard, state bureaucrats have been routinely denying Maryland citizens their right to bear arms. The state cannot be allowed to continue this discriminatory practice because it essentially gives public officials the power to deny someone’s fundamental, constitutionally-protected rights on a whim.”
Keep an eye out
The Firearms Policy Coalition, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., and three private citizens all joined SAF in the suit. Named as defendants are State Police Secretary Woodrow Jones III and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, in their official capacities. The case is known as Call, et.al. v. Jones et. al. SAF and CCRKBA are represented by the Washington, DC law firm Cooper & Kirk.
Cases like these are never decided quickly. They wend their way through the courts over months–even years–before they can make a real difference (if ever). Still, we here at Freedom’s Lodge offer a hearty round of applause for every effort to increase firearms freedom everywhere in America.