Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan directed the state police Tuesday to suspend the state's “good and substantial reason” standard for permits to carry handguns after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar New York law last month.
Hogan said the New York law pertaining to handguns “is virtually indistinguishable from Maryland law.” As a result, Hogan said he was directing the Maryland State Police to immediately suspend use of the standard when reviewing applications for wear and carry permits.
“It would be unconstitutional to continue enforcing this provision in state law,” said Hogan, a Republican. “There is no impact on other permitting requirements and protocols.”
Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson said the General Assembly will pass legislation in its next session “that adheres to the new precedent set by this Supreme Court while ensuring reasonable restrictions to keep our families and communities safe.”
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“Now more than ever in history, we must pass laws protecting all Marylanders from potential gun violence,” Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, said in a statement after the governor's announcement. “The lethality of the weapons available for purchase has never been greater, and our laws must accurately reflect their danger.”
Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones also said lawmakers will pass “meaningful and reasonable limitations to ensure the safety of our families and children.”
“Between now and January the Maryland House of Delegates will look at every option to curb the proliferation of guns on the street,” Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat, wrote on Twitter.
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Mark Pennak, president of gun-rights group Maryland Shall Issue, welcomed the governor's order.
“For the first time in decades, ordinary responsible, law-abiding citizens in Maryland will have their Second Amendment right for self-defense outside the home respected,” Pennak said in a statement.
Under Maryland law, a gun owner has had to show a “good or substantial reason” to carry a concealed gun. That could include showing a person’s life is in danger from threats or that they work in a job that could put them in contact with people who are dangerous.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, has said the Maryland law is similar to New York’s but they take different approaches. He has said the Supreme Court's ruling last month is being examined to determine its impact on the state.
Opponents to the law in Maryland already have sued in a case that was on hold in the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, pending the ruling in the New York case.
After the Supreme Court's ruling, about a half a dozen other states with similar laws have been weighing next steps.
As with New York, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have legislatures controlled by Democrats who could propose measures to ensure that guns will not be allowed in certain places.
Last week, New York lawmakers approved a sweeping overhaul of the state’s handgun licensing rules in hopes of preserving some limits on firearms after the Supreme Court ruled that most people have a right to carry a handgun for personal protection.