According to a recent Supreme Court ruling (NYSRPA v. Bruen), the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms for self-defense outside the home, making it more essential than ever to be aware of these changes and how it has impacted Maryland wear and carry laws. By a margin of 5-4, The Supreme Court reversed a lower court's ruling that the right to bear arms applied only inside the home.

"The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees,’” McDonald, 561 U. S., at 780 (plurality opinion). “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.

“New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote.

Where citizens can carry guns is now up to individual states to decide.

What's Next for Maryland?

On July 5, 2022, Governor Hogan directed Maryland State Police to suspend “good and substantial reason” standard for wear and carry permits. He said, “Over the course of my administration, I have consistently supported the right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry firearms, while enacting responsible and common-sense measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.”  

He went onto clarify his position saying, “Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision in New York law pertaining to handgun permitting that is virtually indistinguishable from Maryland law. 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. It would be unconstitutional to continue enforcing this provision in state law. There is no impact on other permitting requirements and protocols.”

He concluded, “Today’s action is in line with actions taken in other states in response to the recent ruling.”

Currently, to obtain a wear and carry license in Maryland, an individual must submit to a background check, complete a firearms safety course (unless exempt), and provide fingerprints.  

Some states, like California, have very strict gun laws, while others are more lenient. It is important to know the laws of the state you are in before carrying a firearm.  For now, it's important to be aware of the changes in the law and how they might affect you.

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