ON THE HILL: Experts weigh impact of decision to suspend wear and carry gun permit standard in Maryland

In case you missed "On the Hill" this Sunday, two experts on gun rights joined the show to discussion Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's decision to immediately suspend the state's "good and substantial reason" standard when reviewing applications for wear and carry gun permits.

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The Governor made the decision after a Supreme Court ruling struck down a New York law requiring a person to show "proper cause" before being able to obtain a concealed carry license.

The "proper cause" standard in Maryland gave state officials the power to determine whether applicants had supplied a specific reason for needing a firearm, and allowed them to deny access to people who stated they simply wanted to protect themselves.

As a result of the change, Maryland State Police say the state has seen an "exponential increase" in applications for wear and carry gun permits. So much so, in fact, that Maryland's online licensing portal is having trouble keeping up.

To discuss whether the changes are the right move for Maryland, FOX 5's "On The Hill" spoke with experts on both sides of the issue.

Maryland State Senator Jeff Waldstreicher, from the state's 18th district, said the decision was wrong for Maryland adding that it makes the state "less safe."

Sen. Waldstreicher believes that Governor Hogan "acted rashly" by making the decision, saying that the Governor could have taken his time to act on the Supreme Court's decision which would have allowed state law enforcement officials time to prepare for the spike in gun permit requests.

Ultimately, Sen. Waldstreicher believes that Maryland's legislature will have to act to make Maryland safer.

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"Where the governor acted rashly, the legislature is going to take its time and be deliberative and respond to this opinion in a way that's respectful and legal in response to that decision, but also looks forward to cracking down on gun violence," Sen. Waldstreicher tells FOX 5. "As you know, we have a gun violence problem here in Maryland. Crime is on the increase across the state and across the country, and so the legislature's job is to be thoughtful and decisive in what we do, so we're going to use the next few months until the legislative session in January to put together our plan, and we're going to do so with the advice of experts."

Gun rights advocate Mark Pennak, from the Maryland Shall Issue organization, disagreed with the State Senator's comments about Governor Hogan's decision, saying that he "really had no choice in the matter" after the Supreme Court decision ruled that "proper cause" laws are unconstitutional.

Pennak also countered the State Senator's point about safety saying that the decision will give more people the opportunity to protect themselves.

"Carjackings in the state are soaring, carjackings in Baltimore are soaring, and the police are not able to stop it. So people are understanding that they need to be able to protect themselves from such violent incidents," said Pennak.

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Adding to that point, Pennak believes that people who are applying wear and carry gun permits in Maryland are "ordinary people who feel in danger" and have no interested in committing crimes.

"The people with carry permits nationwide are the safest most law-abiding and commit the least number of crimes on the planet. These people do not commit crimes. Maryland will still be able to do a very extensive, very intrusive background check on every individual who applies for a carry permit. They still have to demonstrate proficiency and the handling of a firearm," Pennak tells FOX 5. "This is not an impulsive system at all. These people are shown to be competent or law-abiding and have no records. These are people you can trust with firearms."

You watch the FULL arguments made in both interviews above.


Make sure to tune into "On The Hill" every Sunday morning on FOX 5, starting at 8:30 a.m.