Statement by Jen Pauliukonis, President of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, On Maryland Support for Handgun Purchaser Licensing
Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence is happy to report that all Democratic Maryland candidates for Congress, incumbent and otherwise, have signed our Resolution to cosponsor the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act. MPGV is honored to have the support of Senate candidate Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8) and House of Representative incumbents Rep. John Delaney (D-6), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-7), Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3), and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2) to expand handgun purchaser licensing to other states. In addition, Jamie Raskin (D) running in the 8th District, Anthony Brown (D) running in the 4th District, and Joe Werner (D) running in the 1st District have signed on to the Resolution. Rep. Chris Van Hollen is the lead sponsor of the legislation in the House of Representatives.
MPGV started a campaign one month ago to demand all Maryland candidates for Congress sign the Resolution. This law will incentivize other states to adopt similar handgun purchaser licensing. With 44% of the guns used in crime in Maryland coming from states with looser gun laws, we need all states to adopt this life-saving legislation to keep Maryland safe.
In a new poll of the 6th Congressional District conducted by OpinionWorks (see attached memo by Steve Raabe of OpinionWorks), we see strong support for the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act. The law is supported by 63% of those polled. The poll results also reveal voters will more likely support a Congressional candidate if he or she supports the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act. MPGV will educate all Maryland voters on which leaders have signed the Resolution and endorsed gun violence prevention policies. So far, no Republican candidate has signed on to support the Resolution. We will continue to reach out to them, and our members will pressure them to sign as well.
As we can see from the poll and from our Democratic leaders, handgun purchaser licensing is good policy and good politics. Studies from the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research showed 40% reduction in gun homicides in study of a similar law that combined handgun purchaser licensing with a strong background check system. Maryland has a similar law and this should be the national model.
In addition to federal handgun purchaser licensing, voters showed strong support for possible state legislation, including a prohibition to those on the Terrorist Watch List, a firearm ban on college campuses, and a process to keep domestic abusers from possessing a firearm. (see Attached OpinionWorks memo.)
It is clear that voters in the 6th District support gun violence prevention measures and candidates who support them. We thank all the Maryland Democratic leaders for stepping up to lead the country toward Handgun Purchaser Licensing. We strongly urge the Republican candidates to sign the Resolution. After our September 1 deadline for candidates to sign the Resolution, we will educate Maryland voters about which candidates support the life-saving Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act and which do not.