Senate Bill 1, or The Gun Safety Act of 2023 would prohibit those with concealed-carry permits from taking their firearms within 100 feet of any public place, effectively limiting their right to bear arms. It’s important to remember off the bat that SB1 is a bill. It’s not law. The Senate has been in session for less than a week. The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has not met to review the bill yet.
This bill, if enacted as law, would criminalize a lawful Maryland Wear & Carry Permit holder, who has been vetted for criminal activity and mental stability by the Maryland State Police and a number of other agencies, from 1) carrying their firearm onto the property of another person without the owner’s express permission (or if the owner had given the public permission. We’ll come back to that.) 2) from carrying their firearm within 100 feet of a place of public accommodation. Violation of either part of the proposed law would be a misdemeanor and carry a penalty of imprisonment up to one year. Let’s break it down.
It stands to reason that a law abiding citizen wouldn’t enter the property of another citizen without their permission, armed or otherwise. In fact, there’s already a law against it: Maryland’s trespassing law. The existing law requires the property owner to post signs where they can reasonably be seen, or paint marks that comply with DNR regulations. Would the new bill, if enacted as law, remove those requirement simply because the trespasser was armed? Doubtful, but we are not licensed attorneys. (Consult your attorney. We know a few good ones if you need a referral.).
SB1 also would also criminalize a lawful Maryland Wear & Carry Permit holder who takes their firearm within 100 feet of a place of public accommodation, as defined by Maryland Statue 20-301. The statute covers just about everywhere you could go in public (except houses of worship, notably), but one could argue that the 20-301 wasn’t necessarily meant for the purpose of restricting citizens access. Maryland Shall Issue has already said they will challenge the proposed law, if enacted.
SB1’s proposed effective date is October 1, 2023. It has a long way to go before then. Feel free to contact the members of the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to voice your opposition and of course, your local Delegate.
One feature of Maryland gun laws of which Master Arms & Tactical has continuously made our students aware is that “no gun signs” do not carry the weight of law in Maryland. Perhaps this law is intended to remedy that. If you’re a business owner, you can give public permission for lawful Maryland Wear & Carry Permit holders and permit holders of other states to carry in your establishment by purchasing a sign or sticker to indicate as much on the front door. We encourage letting the public know that people want to protect their own communities, given the opportunity. An armed society is a polite society.