Guns and Gear

Maryland Governor Fills Posts At Gun Permit Review Board Months After Lawmakers Moved To Dissolve It

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Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan named several people to a weapons permit appeals board, an entity he vetoed after lawmakers voted to dissolve it.

Hogan nominated five people to the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board (HPRB), an organization the Maryland legislature moved in January to abolish only to have Hogan veto the law May 24, after the 2019 session had concluded, The Baltimore Sun reported. Lawmakers, however, are expected to make an attempt at overriding it.

The board, staffed by members of the general public who are selected by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate, considers appeals for handgun carry permit applications rejected by the Maryland State Police, according to the state website.

Without the board, only administrative judges can determine appeals, 520 of which are pending.

Those in favor of abolishing the board argued it too easily overturned decisions made by police, endangering the public by putting guns into the wrong hands. Gun rights advocates complain the carry permit process is unreasonable in Maryland, and say removing citizens from the appeal process means their perspective won’t be represented.

When Hogan vetoed the legislation, he explained to Democratic lawmakers that eliminating the board would not help stop crime.

“It is just another in a long series of politically motivated and ill-conceived power grabs,” Hogan wrote, the Sun reported.

State police considered 4,400 new and 5,400 renewal applications in 2018, denying about 500, according to the Sun.

Nominees included a retired judge, three retired law enforcement officers and a Washington, D.C., attorney. They will serve until the legislature gavels in the fall, when state senators will take up their confirmation, a task they refused to undertake for Hogan’s last nominees. (RELATED: Maryland Democratic Party Secretary Labels Gun Rights Activists ‘Terrorists,’ Calls For Doxing)

It is speculated that lawmakers will return in January 2020 to override Hogan’s veto, which could eliminate the board.

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