Gun policy expert: Hogan’s new directive increases gun access, potential ‘public safety impacts’

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a new directive for the Maryland State Police on Tuesday to immediately ignore a law restricting concealed carry in the state.

“I’m honestly surprised he didn’t do it sooner,” Cassandra Crifasi, Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, told WTOP’s DMV Download.

Gov. Hogan’s new directive makes it so Maryland lines up with the newest Supreme Court decision on the matter.

“What Hogan said is that applicants for a concealed carry license no longer have to justify why they should get a license,” Crifasi said.

Hogan’s directive tells state police to stop the use of the “good and substantial reason” standard when looking at wear and carry permits. Crifasi says they still have to pass training and mental health and background screenings, but it does make it easier for people to get that concealed carry license.

What did that standard do?

“For folks who might be deemed dangerous or might not might have a might not have had a good reason to carry in public, it gives law enforcement an opportunity to say, well, we don’t think you sort of meet the criteria,” Crifasi said. “Removing that additional hurdle, that additional discretionary element, makes it likely that more people would be qualified.”

She said recent research shows that gun carrying could have an impact on violence.

“Our research has found that when you make it easier for people to carry guns in public, you see harmful public safety impacts,” Crifasi said.

But while she says getting rid of the “good and substantial reason” standard could make it easier for people to qualify for a concealed carry permit, she says Maryland has other safeguards in place that could help counter potential issues.

“When you have robust licensing requirements in place like the ones we have in Maryland, even without that good and substantial reason, you can see perhaps less harm than you would if you went to a very weak system,” Crifasi said.

Find the full interview with Crifasi on the DMV Download.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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