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Maryland State Police Illegally Sharing Firearm Applicants Personal Information

If there is one characteristic that has long defined the Maryland General Assembly (incompetence, notwithstanding) it is their collective consistency – rarely has one legislative body been so reliable in its ability to get things wrong.

And the reason is simple; the majority party Democrats have been gifted with an uncanny ability to not see past the end of their noses. There is no such thing as Plan B.
First thought: tax millionaires and reap the revenue benefits. Second thought: none, so the millionaires took their money out of state.

First idea: raise the sales tax and taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and gas. Second idea: none, save for standing roadside watching state residents (millions of which are a 20 minute drive from the state lines) buy those goods from our neighbors to the north, south, east and west.

First brainstorm: tighten the purse strings and make regulatory war on the state’s small businesses. Second brainstorm: none, as 6,500 small businesses pack up and either go away or go under.

When Aldous Huxley said that the only “completely consistent people were dead,” he had yet to meet an Annapolis Democrat.

Last Friday (9/6) the Associated Gun Clubs issued a statement confirming reports that – “on orders from Governor Martin O’Malley – the Maryland State Police (MSP) are sharing the personal information listed on 77R firearms purchase application forms.”  The MSP issued a Sept. 7 press release stating, that employees from across state government were assisting in the processing of firearms applications. The release can be found on Delegate Mike Smigiel’s (R – Caroline, Cecil, Kent & Queen Anne Counties) website. MSP removed the statement from its press release page.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 4.54.41 AM

For those unfamiliar, a 77R is an authorization for release of information to purchase a regulated firearm.

These forms, which include the applicant’s date of birth, home address and social security numbers have – according to the Associated Gun Clubs – been shared with employees of non-MSP government agencies such as the Department of Human Resources, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Public Safety, Correctional Services of the Department of General Services and the Department of Transportation.

And why involve these additional government agencies? Because the governor’s gun-grab caused a run on the application process for those seeking to arm themselves before O’Malley’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013 takes effect and arms only criminals.

These ineffectual gun-control shills have not only created more red tape for their fellow bureaucrats to process, they’ve forced a run on weapon purchases unlike anything ever seen in the state.

Now, because government officials can’t control the beast they’ve unleashed they’ve decided to violate both the privacy of potential legal gun owners as well as the code that governs all administrative regulations issued by state agencies.

The accusation that the Maryland State Police shared firearms purchase applications with numerous non-police agencies is a direct violation of COMAR, the Code of Maryland Regulations.

First notion: take away the natural, Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of Marylanders. Second notion: none, just bogus, laughingly bad handling of a law that never should have been passed in the first place.

Not surprisingly, the uproar from Second Amendment supporters has been loud and raucous, led by Smigiel, retiring Senator Nancy Jacobs (R – Cecil & Harford Counties),  and Delegate Kevin Kelly (D – Allegany County).

In a letter to Maryland Attorney General (and presumed gubernatorial candidate) Douglas Gansler, Kelly questioned the legality of the governor’s purported “orders” to allow what could be as many as 200 state employees to view the confidential information provided on nearly 39,000 pending firearm purchase applications.

Given the Attorney General’s office has yet to challenge any of this governor’s overreaching, constitutionally-questionable measures, it is doubtful that Gansler will find anything untoward in this instance.

Interesting, though, that a ruling originating in an assistant attorney general’s office has clarified this blossoming cluster – “This procedure was reviewed and approved as appropriate by an assistant attorney general assigned to the MSP.”

Well, that settles it… nothing to see here.

Still, the COMAR regulations are quite clear.

Via social media, Smigiel released the specific COMAR regulation that was violated (29.03.01.06 – Processing the Application to Purchase, Rent, or Transfer a Regulated Firearm), but the information provided by the Maryland Shall Issue (MSI) organization spells them out in terms that even Gov. O’Malley’s liveried lackeys can understand.

COMAR, MSI explains, “specifically states that the Maryland State Police may only use personnel from other police agencies as part of their investigation.”

COMAR 29.03.01.06

COMAR 29.03.01.06

Perhaps the attorney general had the foresight to deputize a couple dozen DOT employees.

Of even more concern is the placing of such sensitive citizen information in the hands of the Department of Corrections; a state agency that has been in the news for most of the year thanks to employees that were not only linked to crime and drug organizations, but also allegedly gave birth to a few of the thugs’ offspring.

Currently, there is no evidence that criminal background checks were administered to any of the non-police agency employees called upon to handle the paperwork belonging to firearms’ applicants.

In her press release, Jacobs went so far as to itemize various examples of criminal behavior perpetrated by state employees, including Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration staff that have stolen tens of thousands of dollars, been caught accepting bribes and fraudulently producing (and selling) Maryland drivers’ licenses, and been charged with selling phony ID cards.

Plus, the senator’s statement called attention to an October, 2012 Maryland Reporter story on a legislative audit that not only found that the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act doesn’t cover state agencies, but it also found that a number of agencies were in need of improved system protection processes.

Hazard a guess at the agencies? The Comptroller’s Office, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Department of Human Resources and Maryland Department of Transportation – many of the same agencies that were charged with safe-guarding the personal information of those seeking to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

While Kelly turns a magnificent shade of cerulean holding his breath waiting for  Gansler to do something – I don’t know – constitutional, Smigiel has called for meetings, hearings, gatherings, conferences, summits and any other kind of available get-together to try and hold this governor and his administration liable for this blatant infringement on the privacy rights of Marylanders.

“Today I demanded a hearing on the emergency regulations (269-13) Weapons Regulations: Regulated Firearms COMAR 29.03.01.01-.58 and (270-13) Weapons Regulations: Handgun Permit Unit: COMAR 29.03.02.01-.14,”  Smigiel wrote in his statement, adding that, “there are many proposed regulations that are contradictory to the intent and purpose of SB-281 and indirectly contrary to what the legislative intent and language of the bill allow.”

Apparently, the legislative intent and language allowed is whatever the Democratic, law-breaking majority party will be permitted to implement.

Your elected officials – as well as those who serve at the pleasure of those officials – have defied a law which they swore to uphold, and no one is willing to hold them accountable.
Good luck getting that Genie back in the bottle.

Categories: Gun Rights, Must Read, Open Government, Opinion, Regulation, Second Amendment, Transparency
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