Resources

Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence (MPGV) continues its commitment to advancing evidence-based policies to reduce gun violence in Maryland by strengthening Maryland’s background check and licensing system, and defending the integrity of Maryland’s firearm laws. During the 2022 session, MPGV will introduce and support bills that address loopholes in current law, improve enforcement of existing laws, and defend against legislation that seeks to weaken Maryland’s current gun laws.

 

For the 2022 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session, MPGV will be focusing on two key pieces of legislation.

Child Access Prevention (SB676/HB659)

• Sponsors: Delegates Dana Stein, Sandy Bartlett, and Joseline Peña-Melnyk; and Senators Will Smith and Pam Beidle

 

• Includes wrapping in older teens, guidelines to store guns unloaded and locked, a graduated system of penalties, and a requirement for a health department sponsored education campaign.

Ghost Guns Regulation (SB387/HB425)

• Sponsors: Leadership bill spearheaded by Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office and supported by Senator Susan Lee and Delegate Lesley Lopez

 

• Addresses existing stocks of unserialized guns and parts, lines system up with proposed federal requirements, provides a state-level backstop, allows gunsmithing within the confines of overall legal firearm framework.

 

In addition, MPGV is also supporting:

• Prohibition on Firearms at Polling Sites; HB 30 sponsored by Delegate Henson

 

• Medicaid Funding for Violence Interruption and Prevention programs sponsored by Senator Charles Sydnor

 

OPPOSE

Attempts to Repeal the Firearm Safety Act of 2013
Each year, a number of bills have been proposed that would repeal key provisions of the landmark Firearm Safety Act of 2013 (FSA). Maryland was one of the few states that was able to pass substantive legislation after the Sandy Hook School shooting. Every year, bills are introduced to eliminate training certification requirements, legalize assault weapons, and generally weaken Maryland’s existing law. MPGV is dedicated to protecting the strong standards set forth by the 2013 legislation and opposes any bills that undermine current law.

Concealed Carry Expansion/Shall Carry
Each year, legislation is introduced in Maryland to make it a “shall carry” state and remove concealed carry permit requirements such as the “good and substantial reason” standard. Other bills aim to remove requirements for training, create exemptions to the permitting requirements, establish concealed carry reciprocity, or allow for expedited permits under certain circumstances. MPGV opposes all legislation that seeks to weaken Maryland’s current concealed carry standards.

Guns in Schools
MPGV opposes all legislation authorizing funding for arming school personnel, or granting permission to county school boards to authorize school personnel to carry a firearm on school property under any circumstances.

Guns and Cannabis (SB190/HB415)
Under federal law cannabis is designated as a controlled substance and a user is prohibited from owning a firearm. In addition, the data seems to indicate that marijuana use, even medical varieties may cause impairment to the user. This is an area that likely deserves significant scientific research, but MPGV feels strongly that the default should not be to allow cannabis users to possess dangerous weapons. We will oppose this legislation.

Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health developed a map to help community members seeking local options for temporary, voluntary firearm storage. Out-of-home gun storage can be especially helpful to persons in crisis at risk for suicide. As of the spring of 2020, the businesses and law enforcement agencies listed on this map are willing to consider requests for temporary, voluntary gun storage.

The overwhelming majority of gun violence is committed with a handgun, therefore it is essential that public firearm policy address this fact. In Maryland, to qualify for a handgun purchaser license, you must first pass a finger-print based background check through law enforcement and complete a gun safety course. Handgun licensing combined with background checks prevents prohibited people, like felons and domestic abusers, from gaining access to handguns.

 

The web site, A Tale of Two States, details two major studies from the JH Center for Gun Policy and Research that show the impact of handgun licensing on reducing homicides and suicides. Maryland passed a handgun purchaser licensing law in 2013. 

See http://taleoftwostates.com/

 

The online publication, The Trace, delves into the benefits of handgun purchaser licensing (also called ‘permit-to-purchase’) in an article from 2015: https://www.thetrace.org/2015/07/gun-permit-to-purchase-permits-van-hollen-federal/

 

Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act

 

The Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act authorizes a grant program at the Department of Justice to encourage states to establish permit-to-purchase requirements for all handguns, including at gun shows and with private sellers.

 

See https://vanhollen.house.gov/fact-sheet-handgun-purchaser-licensing-act-of-2015

Background checks are necessary in preventing a prohibited person from obtaining a firearm. Background checks are also an integral component of any handgun purchaser licensing process. Most people assume the United States has a federal universal background check system, but there are huge loopholes in this law that makes it easy for dangerous people to obtain a firearm. One such loophole is the private sale exception. In many states it is perfectly legal to buy a gun from a ‘private seller’, perhaps someone met online or at a gun show, without a criminal background check making it possible for a prohibited person to circumvent the system.

 

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence details current federal law and its myriad of loopholes and weaknesses: http://smartgunlaws.org/background-check-procedures-policy-summary/

Gun suicides make up two-thirds of all gun deaths, and yet too often they are left out of the conversation of gun violence prevention.  A great myth that gun suicide cannot be prevented is another hindrance in finding sensible solutions that will save lives. We must work to end not only the epidemic of gun suicide, but also the shame associated with it.

 

A clinical psychologist dispels many of the myths associated with gun suicide in an insightful article from the online publication, The Trace: https://www.thetrace.org/2015/11/gun-suicides-mental-illness-statistics/

 

Studies by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research show that background checks combined with licensing reduce gun suicide: http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2015/suicide-by-firearm-rates-shift-in-two-states-after-changes-in-state-gun-laws.html

Domestic gun violence is a public health and safety issue. Families are broken and destroyed. Many times, the violence does not end there. All too often, gun violence spills out to affect the entire community. The majority of mass shootings start with a domestic violence incident. We need to work together to educate everyone on the dangers of domestic violence and how it represents a threat to families and communities.

 

A report by Everytown for Gun Safety details the risks of domestic gun violence and the loopholes that exist in current law: http://everytownresearch.org/reports/guns-and-violence-against-women/

 

Prosecutors Against Gun Violence released a report detailing firearm policies that will reduce gun violence by domestic abusers. The report revealed that removing firearms from abusers can reduce domestic violence homicide by as much as 25%.

To learn more about the laws that exist in Maryland and across the country, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is a tremendous resource. The Law Center delves deep into state and national laws, analyzes the Second Amendment, and shares up-to-date research and policy studies.

 

Learn more at http://smartgunlaws.org/the-second-amendment/

In Maryland, we are lucky to have the leading center in gun violence prevention research, the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Their scholarly research focuses on the public health perspective of gun violence. The Center’s research focuses on domestic gun violence, youth and guns, and gun trafficking and enforcement.

 

Learn More: http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-gun-policy-and-research/index.html

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