Definition of Transfer (SB 346 & HB 96)
This bill sponsored by Delegate Kathleen Dumais and Senator Bill Ferguson will close a dangerous loophole that exists in Maryland law making it difficult to enforce illegal gun transfers.
– Private individuals who are not licensed dealers must process transfers of handguns and assault weapons through a licensed dealer or designated law enforcement agency, who conducts a background check. The current law does not define “transfer”. In the absence of a definition, courts have accepted the argument that the law does not apply to a “loan”.
– Closes loophole by clarifying that a “transfer” includes a loan, other than a temporary gratuitous exchange of a regulated firearm between two individuals who remain in the same location for the duration of the exchange.
– Closing this loophole will support law enforcement efforts to prevent the transfer of guns to the underground market. This change will effectuate greater accountability for those who violate the current law’s requirements and a reduction in illegal gun transfers.
Child Access Prevention and Safe Storage (SB 441 & HB 468)
This bill sponsored by Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Will Smith will strengthen existing safe storage requirements applicable to firearms that are potentially accessible to an unsupervised child. Unsecured firearms in the home increase the risk of unintentional shootings, homicide, and suicide. The bill modifies the current law by:
– increasing the age of a “child” from under 16 to under 18;
– requiring that guns are locked by an external safety lock, by an integrated mechanical safety device or in a safe storage depository (lockbox); and
– adding a potential penalty of imprisonment not to exceed two years.
This bill will reinforce gun owners’ accountability and responsibility for the safe storage of firearms.
Gun Trace Study (SB 622 & HB 774)
– This bill sponsored by Senator Jill P. Carter and Delegate Sandy Bartlett will require the Office of the Attorney General to complete a detailed study of firearms that are (1) used in a crime or (2) recovered by law enforcement in connection with illegal firearm possession, transportation or transfer.
– This study will provide state and local leaders, law enforcement, public health researchers, and advocates with the data necessary to identify ways to strengthen enforcement and implementation of Maryland current gun laws and support development of effective strategies to prevent gun trafficking.
– The completion of a gun trace study is imperative to preventing gun diversions to the illegal market and meaningfully reducing gun deaths and injuries across the state.
Ban on Ghost Guns (HB 740)
– This bill will ban all untraceable guns, including 3D printed guns and firearms assembled by kits.
– “Ghost” guns are assembled in a manner that circumvents our state and federal gun laws. They have no serial number and are therefore incredibly difficult to trace when used in a crime and can circumvent Maryland’s regulated firearm registry.
– The exploitation of existing laws not only makes crimes more difficult to solve, but it makes it easier for domestic abusers and criminals to gain access to firearms.