If it’s January through the beginning of April, you can assure yourself that the Maryland General Assembly is in session in Annapolis. In case you missed it, there has been a flurry of activity in Annapolis related to “gun legislation.”
Both houses of the General Assembly have had their hands full with various bills related to guns. Here are just a few to highlight:
Would create what will be called the “Long Gun Qualification License”. Similar to the Handgun Qualification License, the LGQL will require anyone wishing to purchase a long gun (rifles and shotguns) to attend four hours of training and have your fingerprints taken by the Maryland State Police.
This proposed legislation would also require a person who purchases a long gun to wait seven days before they can walk out the door with their long gun from a licensed dealer.
Would put the Colt AR-15 H-BAR rifles on the list of “regulated firearms” in Maryland. Only rifles owned prior to October 1, 2013 (yes, this will be a retroactive piece of legislation) will be grandfathered into law.
For owners who acquired their rifles after October 1, 2013, they would need to remove those rifles from their possession.
Would require a non-prohibited adult who loans a handgun to another law-abiding, non-prohibited adult to go through the procedures as if they were actually selling or permanently transferring ownership of a handgun or regulated firearm.
The practical effects of this are many, but two of the bigger issues are if you were the owner of a regulated handgun, and you left your home for several hours and your spouse used your handgun to defend him/herself from bodily harm or even to go to the firing range, you could be subject to up to five years in jail. The other big issue is that firearm ranges would not be able to rent firearms any longer.
Is legislation designed to abolish the Maryland Handgun Review Permit Board. The Board has been in existence since 1972 and is a civilian oversight Board of the Maryland State Police’s granting or denial of Wear and Carry Permits (commonly referred to Concealed Carry Permits).
In the 2018 legislative session, the General Assembly passed a law to add another layer of review beyond the Handgun Review Permit Board; at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Going to the Office of Administrative Hearings is fiscally difficult for many people and if they elect to proceed to represent themselves, they are at a severe disadvantage since the Office of Administrative Hearings is a judicial proceeding with an Administrative Law Judge and rules of procedure are in effect.
Since October 1, 2018, when cases were permitted to be appealed to the Office of Administrative Hearings, the Maryland State Police have vowed to appeal every case that they lose from the Maryland Handgun Review Permit Board. The sponsors of this legislation believe that administrative law judges that have been trained by the Maryland State Police will be more impartial than a citizen review board that is chosen by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
Edward Hershon is managing partner of Hershon Legal in Annapolis, Maryland.