Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Maryland Illustrates Problem with Requiring Permission to Exercise Constitutional Rights

Monday, June 29, 2020

Maryland Illustrates Problem with Requiring Permission to Exercise Constitutional Rights

2020 continues to serve up examples of why Americans should not tolerate gun control schemes that require citizens to obtain government permission before exercising their Second Amendment rights. This week, the Maryland State Police experienced what they termed a “catastrophic hardware failure” that interrupted that states ability to process regulated firearm purchase applications. The failure complicated Marylandersability to access handguns at a time when many residents are seeking to protect themselves.

In order to purchase a handgun in Maryland, a prospective gun owner must first obtain a Handgun Qualification License. Applicants must complete a firearms safety training course and undergo a fingerprint-based background check. The application process costs $50, not including fingerprinting fees.

On top of this rigorous requirement, a Maryland resident must fill out a 77R Application and Affidavit to Purchase a Regulated Firearm. The applicant is then subjected to a redundant background, a $10 fee, and a 7-day waiting period. The private transfer of handguns is prohibited in Maryland, so all handgun transactions must be conducted pursuant to this procedure.

In a June 22 advisory memo sent to firearm dealers, the Maryland State Police explained that the hardware failure “has caused an interruption in the Maryland State Police Licensing Divisions (MDSPLD) ability to complete background investigations, specifically, for regulated firearm purchase applications (77Rs), handgun qualification license applications (HQLs) and MD wear and carry permit applications (handgun permits).” The document noted that it was the regulated firearm purchase applications that were most effected.

Fortunately, Maryland law contains a safety-valve provision for just such circumstances. MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-123 provides, “(a) A licensee may not sell, rent, or transfer a regulated firearm until after 7 days following the time a firearm application is executed by the firearm applicant, in triplicate, and the original is forwarded by the prospective seller or transferor to the Secretary.” This means that a firearm dealer may proceed with a handgun transfer on the eighth day after the dealer submitted a customers regulated firearm purchase application, even if the state police have not affirmatively approved the transfer.

However, in their advisory memo, the state police encouraged firearms dealers to forego the right to complete a handgun transfer - even after seven days have passed. The memo noted, “The MDSPLD [Maryland State Police Licensing Division] encourages RFDs [Regulated Firearm Dealers] not to transfer these firearms until backgrounds checks have been completed.” This “encourage[ment]” takes on a more mandatory character when one considers that Maryland gun dealers are subject to both federal and state licensing requirements. The same Maryland State Police Licensing Division that made the request for dealers halt lawful handgun transfers controls dealer licensing.

On June 24, the state police announced that they were “able to their database system to a fully operational status.” However, they also acknowledged a “backlog of of regulated firearm purchase applications” and that “the process to complete all applications on file is expected to take several days.”

If the Maryland government holding up lawful gun transfers due to their own inability to process background checks sounds familiar, thats because it is.

Back in 2013, at a time when both President Barack Obama and Maryland Gov. Martin OMalley were pursuing gun control, Marylands background check system experienced a months-long backlog. NRA filed suit against then-Secretary of the Department of State Police Col. Marcus L. Brown. The complaint sought to have the court force the state into meeting the requirement that applications be processed within seven days, and to make immediate determinations on all applications that had already been in the backlog more than seven days. Further, the suit argued for the state to recognize that gun dealers be allowed to transfer firearms to purchasers whose application had been pending more than seven days but had yet to be processed.

As part of avoiding the suit, the state made clear that gun dealers are allowed to transfer regulated firearms to customers following the seven day waiting period, but prior to receiving a determination on the purchasers application from the state police. A June 7, 2013 advisory memo from the state police noted, “a regulated firearm may be lawfully sold, leased or transferred by a licensed firearms dealer or other person after the seven-day waiting period, provided that the dealer or person has not received notice that the application has been placed on hold or disapproved by Maryland State Police (Public Safety Article Sec. 5-125(b)) and the dealer or person does not have actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that the recipient is disqualified from possessing a regulated firearm under Maryland or federal law.”

At bottom, the problem is not that Maryland continues to “encourage” the gun dealers that they regulate to disavow their customersSecond Amendment rights. The problem is a regime that requires permission to exercise a constitutional right. The record is clear, governments like Maryland have repeatedly shown that at times they are unwilling or incapable of granting that permission.

Consider what gun owners in other parts of the country have experienced this year. In several jurisdictions, governors and local officials ordered gun stores closed during the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. In states that have criminalized the private transfer of firearms, this effectively cut off law-abiding citizensability to exercise their Second Amendment rights. In other jurisdictions, officials curtailed or cut-off access to licenses needed to acquire firearms or exercise the Right-to-Carry. All of this occurred at a time when Americans most-needed their Second Amendment rights, as evidenced by the record-breaking number of background checks conducted through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS).

The way to avoid these unacceptable scenarios is to reject firearm owner licensing and so-called “universal background check” schemes that create a prior restraint on the exercise of constitutional rights. Once such a system is in place, citizens must count on their government to act in an honest and competent manner in administering their rights. As history has made clear, this is nothing anyone should be forced to rely upon.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Maryland License
TRENDING NOW
“Unity” President Vows to “Defeat” America’s Oldest and Largest Civil Rights Group

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

“Unity” President Vows to “Defeat” America’s Oldest and Largest Civil Rights Group

Biden issued this “pledge” in a January 8 tweet that falsely tried to suggest the men and women of the NRA were somehow implicated in an infamous crime that was committed a decade ago by ...

Florida Alert! Gun Bills Filed in Florida - SO FAR

Friday, January 15, 2021

Florida Alert! Gun Bills Filed in Florida - SO FAR

As Legislators begin to file bills for the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, we are getting questions about various bills due to media reports on gun bills.  Below is a partial list of bills we will ...

Double-Standard: Virginia Eliminates Online Carry Courses While Promoting Distancing for Everything Else

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Double-Standard: Virginia Eliminates Online Carry Courses While Promoting Distancing for Everything Else

As part of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the General Assembly’s sweeping attack on gun rights in 2020, anti-gun lawmakers enacted legislation that made it more difficult for gun owners to obtain the required training ...

OCC Finalizes Non-Discrimination Rule

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

OCC Finalizes Non-Discrimination Rule

On January 14, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalized an NRA-supported rule to end politically-motivated discrimination in the provision of financial services. The new regulation is now set to take effect on April ...

ATF Withdraws Pistol Brace “Guidance”

News  

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

ATF Withdraws Pistol Brace “Guidance”

On December 23rd, ATF posted a document to its website indicating that its recently published Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces” is withdrawn.

NRA Dumps New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

News  

Friday, January 15, 2021

NRA Dumps New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

Today, the NRA announced a restructuring plan that positions us for the long-term and ensures our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New ...

Record Amount of Gun Control Legislation Introduced on First Day of Bill Pre-Filing for 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Record Amount of Gun Control Legislation Introduced on First Day of Bill Pre-Filing for 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Although the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature convenes on January 12, gun control advocates financed by New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Beto "Hell Yeah, I'll Take Your Guns" O'Rourke wasted no time in announcing their ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Biden to Nominate Anti-Second Amendment Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General

News  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Biden to Nominate Anti-Second Amendment Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General

President-elect Joe Biden announced he will nominate U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General. Biden’s choice of a noted Second Amendment opponent to lead the Department ...

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Want to Destroy the Second Amendment

News  

Monday, November 2, 2020

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Want to Destroy the Second Amendment

While discussion of the Second Amendment and gun control have been noticeably absent from the presidential debates and mainstream media coverage, gun rights are without a doubt on the ballot tomorrow.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.