As directed by Governor Martin O’Malley, the Maryland State Police released confidential firearms purchase application information to employees of four other state agencies in a misguided attempt to move forward in clearing the backlog of unprocessed 77R applications.
As reported yesterday, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of individuals whose applications to purchase regulated firearms remain trapped in the Maryland State Police’s months-long processing backlog. The Maryland Licensed Firearm Dealers Association, Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, and Maryland Shall Issue, along with a Maryland citizen with pending 77R applications, challenged this new and unlawful practice of using non-police personnel from other state agencies to process pending firearm purchase application data through insufficiently secured computer systems. This practice poses a serious and imminent risk to the security and confidentiality of citizen applicants’ sensitive personal information, including their names, addresses, driver license numbers, Social Security numbers, and information concerning their mental health and criminal histories. The lawsuit demands an immediate end to this practice.
Today, the State filed its response to the lawsuit, in which it was revealed that the “All Hands” program that triggered this lawsuit had been terminated. The State filed sworn affidavits with the Court assuring that going forward, the Maryland State Police will only use State Police employees or the Department of Public Safety and Corrections Services (CPSCS) for data entry and those CPSCS employees will only perform data entry and no investigative functions. In addition, the Maryland State Police filed sworn affidavits with the Court assuring that each and every one of the specific data security concerns raised in the lawsuit were corrected in the protocol to be used going forward.
It is vital that the State Police work to address the self-inflicted backlog of processing pending firearm purchase applications so that law-abiding citizens of Maryland may obtain regulated firearms for their protection in a timely manner, but the State Police cannot be allowed to do so while putting at risk the applicants’ private personal information. Your NRA-ILA will continue to monitor and report on the status of this lawsuit as the plaintiffs seek to ensure that the citizens of Maryland do not lose their constitutional rights to the privacy of their sensitive personal information simply by exercising their fundamental rights to firearm ownership.