Brian White/AP Photo
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan directed state police to stop enforcing a state law that sets restrictions around concealed-carry handgun permits.
Brian White/AP Photo
On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan directed state police to stop enforcing a state gun law that sets restrictions around concealed-carry handgun permits.
The decision to suspend the law comes after a Supreme Court ruling last month that found a similar New York state law restricting the right to carry a handgun outside the home to be unconstitutional. Writing for the conservative majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas argued the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment because it prevents "law-abiding citizens" from exercising their Second Amendment right to carry guns in public for self defense.
"Today's action is in line with actions taken in other states in response to the recent ruling," said Hogan in a statement.
Under the "good and substantial reason" standard, Maryland law requires gun owners to provide a specific reason for why they need to carry a concealed handgun. Although the court's 6-3 ruling focused on a New York law, Hogan described it as "virtually indistinguishable" from Maryland's own.
"In light of the ruling and to ensure compliance with the Constitution, I am directing the Maryland State Police to immediately suspend utilization of the 'good and substantial reason' standard when reviewing applications for Wear and Carry Permits," Hogan said in the statement. "It would be unconstitutional to continue enforcing this provision in state law."
While Hogan says he has previously enacted "responsible and common sense measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill," his political opponents and advocates for gun control have already begun to lambast the decision – including Tom Perez, the former U.S. Secretary of Labor and chair for the Democratic National Committee, and former U.S. Secretary of Education John King, who are both Democrats running for governor this fall.
"Just a day after another horrific mass shooting, Larry Hogan is capitulating to a radicalized SCOTUS to score far right-wing political points, rather than making our communities safer. Marylanders need a governor who will do more to prevent the scourge of gun violence—not less," said Perez in a tweet.
"Lame Duck Larry Hogan is happy to follow SCOTUS & make it easier to carry guns, but won't do anything to tackle the public safety crisis Maryland faces," said King in another tweet.
Last month, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh criticized the court's decision and warned of increased gun violence to come.
"Today's decision means more deaths and more pain in a country already awash in gun violence. If the norm is that people can carry firearms, our neighborhoods, our streets and other public places will become more dangerous. It will make the lives of law enforcement more difficult and more perilous. The epidemic of gun violence sweeping our nation demonstrates daily the folly of introducing more guns into this boiling cauldron," Frosh said.
California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island also have state laws similar to the one struck down in New York. Previously, D.C. had its own version of the law for concealed-carry permits until a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional.