Concealed Carry laws have been a hot topic in 2021. Many more states have been added to the “Constitutional Carry” (also known as Permitless Carry) list. Most notably, Texas.
Watching from afar in a “May Issue” state like Maryland can be a little depressing. But don’t lose hope! A few exciting developments are on the rise, with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear NYSRPA v. Bruen. A challenge to New York’s “May Issue” Permitting process, specifically New York’s requirement that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” to carry a firearm. New York regularly uses this requirement to deny applicants the right to carry a gun outside their homes.
Sound familiar? I’m sure it does if you live in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
If you follow Firearms law at all, that list might not surprise you. But there’s a place that is suspiciously missing from that list.
Why is DC missing? Well, in November of 2017, DC lost in court to the NRA. A panel of three judges from the US Court of Appeals for DC struck down DC’s permitting system. They found that DC’s “Good and Proper Reason” requirement effectively banned bearing arms by law-abiding citizens trying to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.
Now I have to ask the question again. Sound familiar?
If you live in Maryland as I do, this should sound incredibly familiar. Especially the part about “Good and Proper Reason.” Although, here in Maryland, it’s referred to as “Good & Substantial Reason.”
If you take a closer look at DC’s law, it’s very similar to Maryland’s law. 16 hours of training by a qualified instructor (certified by that state’s Police), a hefty application fee, and finally a “Good and Substantial Reason” requirement.
The funny thing is, for some reason, when DC lost in court, they didn’t appeal to the Supreme Court. Instead, the law took effect, and DC became a “Shall Issue” state. Why did that happen? There’s some speculation that the anti-gun lobby pulled out because they knew a Supreme Court case might endanger other states with similar “May Issue” schemes. There’s also been mention that the anti-gun argument, in this case, was weak and may have given gun owners an easy Supreme Court win.
Either way, at some point, after this law went into effect, Maryland took notice. Suddenly, “Business Owners” no longer had to prove they were working for their carry permits to be valid. (Until recently, MD Carry Permit holders typically had stipulations that they could only carry “while conducting business.” Which is a vague term. Not particularly handy for appearing before a court, where the judge might decide that your trip to the gas station didn’t constitute “conducting business”).
Now, this is where we get into a bit of speculation. My opinion is that once Maryland caught wind of this DC change, they realized how similar their laws are. So, who would be able to fund a lawsuit to change Maryland’s ridiculous carry law? Business owners.
So now, business owners receive unrestricted carry permits. Hopefully, though, we’ll get to see what happens fall of 2021 when NYSRPA v. Bruen gets to the Supreme Court.
I spoke to Ed Herson of Hershon Legal LLC. He’s a Lawyer who specializes in the appeals process for MD’s Carry Permit. I asked him what he thought about the recent ease in regulations for Business Owners. He seemed to be of the opinion that while MD certainly took notice of the D.C. case, there were simply too many people arguing that the “while conducting business” stipulation on their permit was too loose of a term (which is true). There were simply too many expensive cases, too many variables and some bad arrests. This in Ed’s opinion led the state to change the permit for business owners to “unrestricted”.
I think the lesson here is; if the Nation’s Capital has become a shall-issue state, there’s hope for all of us in these accursed “May Issue” territories.