An opinion from an official in the state Attorney General’s Office says state employees from outside Maryland State Police can help deal with the backlog of applications for gun purchases.
Del. Kevin Kelly (D-Dist. 1B) of Cumberland wrote the Attorney General’s Office Sept. 8 to rule on the legality of using the outside employees.
The reply, from the office’s chief counsel, Adam D. Snyder, is that the system is legal.
“Although I understand the concern, in my view the [Maryland State Police] does perform the review and investigatory functions under the arrangement discussed above; the [state police] has simply borrowed employees from other units of the Executive Branch to enable it to effectively and efficiently perform the clerical work associated with carrying out its statutory duty,” Snyder wrote.
“When entering data into the [state police] database, those employees function as the [state police’s] agents for that task,” he wrote. “I am not aware of any legal principle that would prevent one State agency from making its employees available to assist another State agency in this manner.”
A controversial gun-control law that takes effect Oct. 1 will place new restrictions on buying certain weapons, prompting a surge in applications. To handle the backlog, up to 200 employees from the departments of Health and Mental Hygiene; Public Safety and Correctional Services; Human Resources; and Juvenile Services had been working since Sept. 6 to enter data from more than 38,000 applications.
State Sen. Nancy Jacobs last week called for a federal investigation into whether the practice violated the applicants’ privacy. In his letter, Snyder said he didn’t believe the system breached an applicant’s privacy.
Jacobs said Tuesday she was concerned that the data entry was not secured.
“There’s no guarantee that the data isn’t out there being used by somebody for identity theft. It’s is a huge exposure,” said Jacobs (R-Dist. 34) of Abingdon.