The 2021 Maryland General Assembly Session has come to a close in a tumultuous and unusual year. Session took place during a highly restrictive environment in the midst of a global pandemic. Maryland is celebrating being the first state to take decisive action on police reform and foundations have been strengthened in many other critical areas of reform allowing us to hit the ground running in 2022. In the meantime, MPGV presents our 2021 Legislative Wrap-up of all things gun violence related.
After closing down early in 2020, the 2021 session managed to open on time and continue without shut-down until the designated end. Nevertheless, Covid-19 played a substantial role in modifying the structure and capacity of procedures. Advocates were required to work virtually, while legislators employed a mixture of virtual and in-person, socially distant methods. Leadership, as mandated, prioritized passing the budget. In light of an overdue recognition of fundamental structural flaws, police reform also dominated. State House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones emphasized a “Black Agenda” which focused on the crucial need to close the race gap in areas of homeownership, health, and wealth. MPGV applauds these efforts that led to successful legislation and help to address the issue of violence prevention. We know that fundamental to the conversation of gun violence is the fact that it is felt most acutely by our black and brown citizens and that generations of systemic racism has created a cycle of poverty and violence that many struggle to escape. Undoing these disparities will not be quick or easy, but is imperative as a foundation for other gun violence prevention efforts. While we are disappointed that our key legislation this session, the Child Firearm Access Prevention otherwise known as Jaelynn’s Law, did not make it through, we recognize the importance of the work that was done and pledge that we will continue to fight for this bill in future sessions.