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

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

Hogan nominated five people to the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board (HPRB), an organization the Maryland legislature voted in January to abolish only to have Hogan veto the law May 24, after the 2019 session had concluded, The Baltimore Sun reported.

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 currently 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 that 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 Democrat 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 last year, denying approximately 500, according to the Sun.

Nominees included a retired judge, three retired law enforcement officers, and a Washington, DC attorney. They will serve until the Legislature gavels in this fall, when state senators will take up their confirmation, a task they refused to undertake for Hogan’s last nominees.

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

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