Maryland Gov Signs New Gun Control Laws, Defies Supreme Court
My home state sued again for violating Second Amendment rights over laws that won't decrease gun violence
I naively wrote to you last July that the Supreme Court forced my home state of Maryland to allow people to legally carry guns outside the home, and thus the constitutional battle was won.
Well, that was shortsighted.
Gun Control Switchback
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) signed gun-control bills into law on Tuesday that are in direct defiance of the Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen last June.
These new laws (listed here) drastically restrict where people can legally carry a gun and make it harder and much more expensive to get a carry permit.
This is my periodic reminder that no gun control law has ever been proven to reduce gun crime. As always, feel free to research crime statistics and come back with evidence to the contrary.
As I’ve done for over 10 years when Maryland changes its gun control laws, I called Mark Pennak of Maryland Shall Issue (MSI) for a legal analysis. Pennak this evening was literally in the middle of filing a new lawsuit against the state when he picked up the phone. (The NRA filed one too.)
I asked him about the governor claiming that restricting where permit holders can carry guns would make people safer.
“The idea that this will have an impact on crime is ludicrous,” Pennak said. “This will just mean more people will be unable to legally protect themselves. It won’t do a thing to the criminals because they all carry illegally.”
Reminder: Three Supreme Court justices live in Maryland (Roberts, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.)
Pennak, who is a constitutional lawyer, said the part of the new laws that is most contradictory to Bruen is that all private places are gun-free zones unless explicitly permitted.
“The presumptive ban on public carry is clearly unconstitutional, and they know it,” said Pennak. “You have to assume every place that is privately owned is banned-- every store, every restaurant. So you can have your gun with you in the McDonald’s drive-through, but then you can’t go inside.”
The Supreme Court’s Bruen decision says that guns can be banned in “sensitive places” but only these five: schools, government buildings, legislative assemblies, courthouses and polling places. Maryland just ignored the ruling and called “sensitive places” everything from a health care facility to a museum.
If you live in Maryland and need specific details on where you can and can’t legally carry as of Oct. 1, go to this page on the MSI website. I’ve noticed the news stories on this new law are mixing up a proposed bill and the final one.
The new law also raised fees by 50% for the “Wear and Carry” permit, from $75 to $125 to get a permit and from $50 to $75 to renew. Pennak said that the “dramatic hike that is past the point where it’s reasonable” will mean the state could be making a profit, which is not allowed under case law.
Gun Violence Circles
As I previously wrote about growing up in Baltimore, the laws were extremely restrictive. My father had one of the few carry permits. My stepdad was armed, at least at home:
One day my stepfather called me and my sister into the bedroom and tossed two handguns on the bed. He told us those guns were in his sock drawer and to never touch them. That was my first gun safety lesson in life. We all know better now.
So I genuinely thought