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Hogan orders State Police to halt ‘good and substantial reason’ for wear and carry permit applications

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Posted at 10:54 AM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 08:51:12-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday ordered Maryland State Police to suspend part of its review process when issuing wear and carry firearm permits in Maryland.

It comes in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling that "proper cause," not be required when applying for a concealed carry permit.

That decision stemmed out of New York and a law they had passed that required conceal carry applicants to “demonstrate a special need for self- protection distinguishable from that of the general community,” in order to obtain a permit.

RELATED: With similar concealed carry laws as New York, could SCOTUS ruling impact Maryland?

Maryland has since grappled with how to respond to the high court's opinion, considering the language in Maryland law is very similar to that of which was deemed unconstitutional in New York.

Previously, the Maryland State Police Licensing division required Wear and Carry Permit applicants to show "a good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against danger."

As of Tuesday at Hogan's direction, that will no longer be part of the application process to obtain a permit.

In a statement Hogan said New York's law was "virtually indistinguishable from Maryland law."

Hogan said it would be unconstitutional if he were to allow the law to continue being enforced.

Many including Maryland's GOP House Caucus and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Kelly Schulz had been calling on Attorney General Brian Frosh to declare the "good and substantial reason" provision as "unconstitutional" and "unenforceable."

On June 30 Frosh reportedly did advise State Police that the provision was unconstitutional, and therefore no longer needed to be enforced.

House Minority Leader Jason Buckel applauded the decision.

“For decades the members of the House Republican Caucus have supported and fought for the abolishment of the unconstitutional ‘good and substantial reason’ standard in Maryland’s wear and carry permit law,” said Buckel. “We appreciate Governor Hogan stepping up and taking action to put Maryland into compliance with the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Lawmakers in multiple states including in New York and New Jersey have already modified their carry laws following the court's decision.

“Over the course of my administration, I have consistently supported the right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry firearms, while enacting responsible and common sense measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill," added Hogan.

The ruling however still leave states with some power in limiting who has access to weapons.

In Maryland, wear and carry applicants still have to show they do not exhibit "a propensity for violence or instability that may reasonably render the person’s possession of a handgun a danger to the person or others."

Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson vowed Tuesday to pass legislation in adherence to the new precedent set by the Supreme Court, when the General Assembly reconvenes next year.

"Now more than ever in history, we must pass laws protecting all Marylanders from potential gun violence," said Ferguson. "The lethality of the weapons available for purchase has never been greater, and our laws must accurately reflect their danger."

Reaction to Gov. Hogan's order on wear and carry law

SEE ALSO: After SCOTUS ruling, GOP lawmakers aim to modify Maryland's "wear and carry" law

In response to Hogan's order, Maryland State Police said that they are "in the process of updating the Licensing Portal to reflect these changes."

Until then, here is what they say you should do if applying for a Wear and Carry Permit.

Select “Personal Protection / Category Not Listed Above” as their “Handgun Permit Category”. 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.

For more information on what is still needed to obtain a wear and carry permit, click here.

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