Bill 21-22E - Weapons – Firearms In or Near Places of Public Assembly (MoCo Council)
In July, the Montgomery County Council held a public hearing on Bill 21-22E. This bill would prohibit anyone from possessing a gun within 100 yards of a place of public assembly, such as a school, theater, shopping area, or other areas with a large number of people gathering.
This legislation is the Council's reaction to two related events and statements around guns and gun control. The Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen, whose case questioned the constitutionality of the Sullivan Act. The Sullivan Act is a New York State law from 1911 that requires applicants for an unrestricted license to carry a concealed pistol on their person to show "proper cause" or a special need distinguishable from the general public in their application. The Court, in its ruling, held that New York’s "proper cause" requirement violated the 14th Amendment.
Maryland law is similar to New York as it also has a requirement for a proper cause. In response to the ruling, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan instructed the Maryland State Police not to enforce the proper-cause element of the Maryland law, which raised concerns from some advocates and Council Members. The primary author of this bill believed that Governor Hogan’s order to the Maryland State Police could encourage more individuals in the state to carry firearms, regardless of the reason.
Bill 21-22 would:
Prohibit the possession of firearms in or near places of public assembly, with certain exemptions
Remove an exemption that allows individuals with certain handgun permits to possess handguns within 100 yards of a place of public assembly
Amend the law regarding restrictions against firearms in the County
However, it should be noted that Bill 21-22 would not:
Prohibit the teaching of firearms safety or other educational or sporting use in the areas described in subsection
Apply to a law enforcement officer or a security guard licensed to carry the firearm;
Apply to the possession of a firearm or ammunition, other than a ghost gun or an undetectable gun, in the person’s own home
Apply to the possession of one firearm and ammunition for the firearm at a business by either the owner who has a permit to carry the firearm, or one authorized employee of the business who has a permit to carry the firearm;
Apply to separate ammunition or an unloaded firearm:
Transported in an enclosed case or in a locked firearms rack on a motor vehicle, unless the firearm is a ghost gun or an undetectable gun;
Being surrendered in connection with a gun turn-in or similar program approved by a law enforcement agency.
Council Member Albornoz is the primary sponsor of this bill, but it has been cosponsored by Council Members Hucker, Friedson, Glass, Rice, Navarro, Riemer, Jawando, Katz. If you have any questions about timing or general concerns about the bill, please contact their office for more information.