In Maryland, they take their gun control seriously. In fact, if you fill out an application for a permit to own a handgun and it winds up being denied, they have a special board set up to review your appeal and presumably approve qualified applicants above and beyond the normal state police review. That’s probably why it’s named the Handgun Permit Review Board.

The board is short a few members these days, so the task fell to Governor Larry Hogan to nominate three replacements. He did so, but the state senate just rejected all three of them. Their reason wasn’t any specific shortcoming of the individuals who had been nominated, though. The decision was in protest of the board existing in the first place because the Democrats voting against the nominees claimed that the board approves too many permits. (Baltimore Sun)

The Maryland Senate refused to confirm Gov. Larry Hogan’s appointment of three members to a board that reviews decisions by state police on permits to carry concealed handguns, with several senators citing the board’s rate of granting appeals.

Twenty-five senators voted Friday to reject the nominees to the Handgun Permit Review Board, while 21 voted to approve them.

By law, permits should only be granted to individuals who prove they have a “good and substantial” reason to wear and carry a handgun.

In 2018 the board heard 269 appeals and they overturned the decisions of the state police in 222 of those cases. This has left the Democrats with the opinion that the board is obviously not doing their job correctly. But what if the problem is that too many of the police in charge of such decisions are denying permits too often?

Part of the problem is obviously the criteria that the state has put in place and they make no bones about where they stand. They’ve set the system up so that citizens need to “prove they have a good and substantial reason to wear and carry a handgun.” That’s why this is yet another situation I’d love to see the Supreme Court get their hands on. That’s not how this is supposed to work. By default, you have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. It’s the state that needs to show “a good and substantial reason why you shouldn’t have a permit.”

Be that as it may, the Democrats in the Maryland state senate haven’t covered themselves in glory here. Part of their job is to consider nominees from the Governor based on their own merits and qualifications. Rejecting all of them as a protest of the existence of the board they would be seated on is childish. If they feel that strongly about it, work to change the laws and eliminate the board entirely. In the meantime, the board exists and the seats remain empty. This is an example of government dysfunction, not normal operations.