Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision
Late last week the Supreme Court released the previously leaked decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This decision does not prevent a woman from getting an abortion, it merely transfers the power back to the states to make the laws surrounding this issue. As a pro-life legislator, I believe this is a good ruling. It should never have been done by judicial fiat. Now, there is room for good people to debate and discuss the issue at the state level. Life is so precious. Here in Maryland, not much will change as our state already approved legality of abortion in referendum 30 years ago - but maybe more eyes can be opened to the scientific truth of a baby in the womb being a person - with brain waves and heartbeat at very early stages. In all the turmoil we’ve seen in our country, on many issues including violent crime and school shootings, a renewed commitment to a culture of loving and protecting life is what’s needed. I also believe we need to change Maryland health insurance laws to treat birthing expenses the same way we now treat abortions - no or low co-pays/deductibles. Certainly this is something people across the different perspectives can agree on and work together towards because ultimately - it’s all about the precious gift of life!
Supreme Court Strikes Down NY Concealed Carry Law
I have received a lot of questions about the recent Supreme Court ruling concerning concealed carry. The Supreme Court ruled that requiring “proper cause” to carry a handgun in public for self-defense is a constitutional violation of the 2nd Amendment. This ruling has a direct impact on Maryland’s current law regarding law-abiding citizens ability to obtain concealed carry permits. Currently in Maryland, the law states that citizens who wish to wear and carry a handgun in public for self-defense must provide a “good and substantial reason” to do so. As you may remember, I've sponsored (or co-sponsored) legislation every year I've served in the General Assembly to make Maryland a "Shall Issue" state. Here is a link to my press release from last week.
The next step is for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to issue a directive to the Maryland State Police and other relevant state agencies that the portions of our current state concealed carry law that are similar to New York's are no longer enforceable. That would allow people to fully access their 2nd Amendment Constitutional rights. So far he has not done so - so Delegates Shoemaker, Krebs, Rose and I just sent Attorney General Frosh a letter calling on him to do so yesterday. Here is the letter:
The Honorable Brian E. Frosh, Esq
Office of Attorney General
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
Re: Request for Opinion on Qualifications for Handgun Permits
Dear Attorney General Frosh:
We, the undersigned members of the General Assembly of Maryland, write to you to urge you to give an opinion pursuant to Article V, Section 3 of the Maryland Constitution as to whether the requirement under §5-306(a)(6)(ii) of the Public Safety Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland that an applicant for a permit to carry, wear, or transport a handgun demonstrate “a good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger” is unconstitutional and unenforceable given the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen, No. 20-843 (June 23, 2022).
As you know, the Court held that New York Penal Law Ann. §400.00(2)(f) requiring an individual who wants to carry a firearm outside his home may obtain an unrestricted license to “have and carry” a concealed “pistol or revolver” if he can prove that “proper cause exists” for doing so. Under N. Y. Penal Law Ann. §400.00(2)(f) an applicant satisfies the “proper cause” requirement only if he can “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.” E.g., In re Klenosky, 75 App. Div. 2d 793, 428 N. Y. S. 2d 256, 257 (1980).
We believe that the “good and substantial reason” requirement contained in §5-306(a)(6)(ii) of the Public Safety Article is strikingly similar to the “proper cause” requirement set forth N. Y. Penal Law Ann. §400.00(2)(f), and that enforcement of the “good and substantial reason” requirement by the Maryland State Police Licensing Division is now unconstitutional and should be declared unenforceable in a legal opinion rendered by your office. The Court in its opinion specifically noted that:
[O]nly six States and the District of Columbia have “may issue” licensing laws, under which authorities have discretion to deny concealed-carry licenses even when the applicant satisfies the statutory criteria, usually because the applicant has not demonstrated cause or suitability for the relevant license. Aside from New York, then, only California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have analogues to the “proper cause” standard. N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen at 4-6 (emphasis added)(footnotes omitted).
We cite the quick action of New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, who on June 24, 2022, issued Directive No. 2022-17 to all law enforcement and county prosecutors declaring that the holding in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen prevents permitting authorities in that State from requiring that an applicant for a carry permit demonstrate “a justifiable need to carry a handgun” under the applicable statute, while directing permitting authorities to follow all other applicable portions of the law.
The Court in N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen reiterated its holding from prior decisions that individual self-defense is the central component of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen at 20. The residents of Maryland should be able to exercise their right to self-defense outside their homes without any further delay given the serious problem of crime and violence now plaguing our State. For example, 29 people have been killed in Baltimore City just in this month, and June is not over. Moreover, just in Baltimore City so far this year there have been at least 171 homicides. In addition, another 332 people have been shot but survived their injuries. https://foxbaltimore.com/news/local/statistics-show-29-homicides-within-first-22-days-of-june (retrieved June 26, 2022).
Accordingly, we respectfully ask that you act with expediency to provide guidance and direction to the Maryland State Police and render your opinion as soon as possible. The residents of Maryland, especially those who live and work in Baltimore City cannot wait while the body count continues to rise.
Senator Justin Ready
Delegate Haven Shoemaker
Delegate Susan Krebs
Delegate April Rose
Col. Woodrow W. (Jerry) Jones III, Secretary of State Police
Office of Secretary
Department of State Police
1201 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD 21208 - 3899
For a full recap of information on new districts both State and Local, click here to see last week’s Ready Report.
I've spoken to you earlier about candidates I support locally, including April Rose & Chris Tomlinson for State Delegate in District 5, Haven Shoemaker for State's Attorney, Tara Battaglia, Jim Miller & Steve Whisler for Board of Education and Sam Jones for Republican Central Committee. I also want to let you know about Josh Stonko, who I support for the new District 42C House of Delegates seat that encompasses Hampstead, Finksburg, parts of suburban Westminster, and southern/eastern Manchester outside the town. Josh Stonko is an energetic conservative who will bring a great background in both small business and banking - as well as conservative activism to the job of State Delegate. A graduate of Manchester Valley HS and then the University of Maryland, Josh has stayed local and believes we need to bring down the cost of living in Maryland through tax relief, including getting the automatic gas tax hike stopped, is pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment and comes from a strong law enforcement family background. He's been endorsed by Sheriff Jim DeWees and Delegate Susan Krebs as well as other community leaders. As referenced last week in my explanation about the districts (see link above) - District 42C voters will elect one State Delegate. My family and I love Hampstead and Finksburg and the other sections of the area that are now in District 42C that I was honored to represent. I know Josh will bring the same commitment to the area because it's where he's from. I hope you'll join me in supporting him.
Remember - early voting runs from July 7th-14th and the GOP Primary Election Day is July 19th.
Taneytown Independence Celebration and Fireworks
July 3rd- Independence Celebration and Fireworks, Taneytown Memorial Park, Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks - Carroll County Tourism
Carroll County Farm Museum Fireworks
July 4th - Grounds open at 4 p.m. with fireworks going off at sunset (approx. 9:30 p.m.). There will be entertainment, food/drink vendors and children’s activities to enjoy. Admission is $5 per car load.
For more information visit Fourth of July Celebration - Carroll County Farm Museum
Manchester Volunteer Fire Department Carnival
July 4th-9th - 6:00-11:00 PM Nightly
July 6th - Parade
Details here: https://www.manchestervfd.org/news/44/Carnival
*If you would like to walk with our team in the Manchester Parade - please feel free to respond to this email!
Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company Carnival