The Maryland Legislature has supported reducing gun violence with a great deal of recent legislation. In the past eight years, we have:
- Increased the age to purchase a gun to age 21, except for rifles and shotguns
- Prohibiting the sale and manufacturing of magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition
- Required background checks for ALL gun purchases
- Passed “Red Flag” laws
- Limited ownership so that people that have been convicted of felonies, been admitted to a mental health facility or has a court-appointed guardian cannot purchase a gun
During my first term in the Senate, I have been the lead sponsor on two important bills. In 2019, SB-1000 changed the appeal process for a person who is denied a permit to wear, carry or transport a handgun. Instead of gun owners appealing a permit decision to a board made up of NRA members, they instead were sent to an Administrative Hearing Officer. An administrative hearing is a fair, impartial and independent opportunity to be heard on the issue. Since the change occurred, only 5% of the appeals have been overturned.
During the 2021 session, I sponsored SB 861 which is known as the Gun Center Bill. The bill creates a database to track the use and possession of all guns used in crimes throughout the state. The funding and staffing is mandated, providing the State Police with the assistance they need to keep our communities safe.
Since the recent Supreme Court decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc v. Bruen, Maryland anticipates critical legislation will be needed in 2023. Maryland will no longer be able to require a person to provide a good and substantial reason to obtain a concealed carry weapon permit. We will need to develop new standards to ensure that only those qualified will be allowed to obtain a concealed carry permit.
Here are a few facts from Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence:
- Maryland experiences an average of 724 gun deaths per year and about 1747 gun injuries
- Guns are used in 42% of Maryland’s suicides and these deaths are overwhelming in rural areas of Maryland
- Nationally, and in Maryland, gun violence has become the leading cause of death for children under 18, this is why Child Access Prevention must be a priority in 2023
- The presence of a gun makes domestic violence far more likely to end in death
While Maryland legislators have done a great deal to reduce gun violence, there remains a great deal more to be done!