28 September 2013

Law in Plain English: Blue v. PG County

Roguell Blue v. Prince George's County, Maryand, et al.
Docket No. Opinion Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
No. 87 CSA Jun 5 2013
Vid.1 Vid.2
Sep 27 2013 4-3 McDonald ST 2012


Issue - Public Safety - In applying the "supervisory employee" exemption to the handgun control law, should the requirement that the employee be "within the confines of the business establishment" be restricted to inside the building only, as the Court of Special Appeals ruled?

Plain English Summary: Subject to various exceptions, the Maryland handgun law prohibits a private individual from wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun without a handgun permit. An exception under that law allows a supervisory employee to carry a handgun with the authorization of the owner of the business “within the confines of the business establishment” in which the employee works.

Roguell Blue, the head of security for a nightclub, was arrested by the Prince George’s County Police for carrying a handgun without a permit on the open parking lot of the nightclub. Mr. Blue brought suit against the County, contending at trial that his arrest was illegal because the parking lot should be considered to be “within the confines” of the nightclub.

The question before the Maryland Court of Appeals was: In applying the supervisory employee exemption to the handgun control law, should the requirement that the employee be "within the confines of the business establishment" be restricted to inside the building only, as CSA ruled?

Holding: In a 4-3 decision, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that the supervisory employee exception to the handgun law allows such an employee to carry a handgun, with the employer’s permission, but only within the enclosed premises of the business in which the employee works. The Court reasoned that “within the confines of the business establishment” appeared to mean only the interior space of a commercial enterprise, where one may find its furnishings and staff, enclosed by walls or similar bounds; and not an exterior parking lot. The exception was not intended to include an unenclosed parking lot adjacent to a nightclub. As a result, when Mr. Blue left the “confines” of the nightclub and took his handgun into the parking lot, he was no longer within the exception. Thus, the Court of Special Appeals' decision was affirmed and Mr. Blue's suit was dismissed.
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