This bill would require the Maryland State Police to study and make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning the feasibility of “FIREARM TELEMATICS” which the bill defines to mean “AN ELECTRONIC SENSOR OR EQUIPMENT INSTALLED ON A FIREARM DESIGNED TO TRACK THE LOCATION OF THE FIREARM IF IT BECOMES LOST OR STOLEN.” The obvious intent underlying such firearm telematics is trace and locate any firearm so equipped. Presumably, such equipment could be made mandatory if the study were to determine that doing so would be technically feasible. Indeed, the bill contemplates such equipment for “PREVIOUSLY MANUFACTURED FIREARMS.”
This bill would create a new “buyback fund” in the Maryland State Police for the purpose of paying persons for the voluntary surrender of what the bill calls “assault weapons.” It first defines “assault weapons” to include “A SELF–LOADING, SEMI–AUTOMATIC OR FULLY AUTOMATIC ACTION FIREARM WITH A DETACHABLE MAGAZINE THAT FIRES AN INTERMEDIATE OR HIGH–POWERED CENTERFIRE CARTRIDGE” and to include “A REGULATED FIREARM, AS DEFINED UNDER § 5–101 OF THIS ARTICLE.” To create the buyback fund, the bill would direct the Comptroller to create a checkoff on the income tax form that allows taxpayers to contribute $5.00 to the fund, either by reducing the refund or adding to the tax liability of the taxpayer. The State Police are directed to administer the fund by “SETTING THE PRICES OF ASSAULT WEAPONS THAT THE STATE MAY BUY” and further directs the State Police to either destroy or donate any guns turned in to “the Armed Forces of the United States.” The bill compels the Governor to include, starting in FY 2022, an annual budget appropriation of $50,000 to the Fund.
The Statutory Scheme of Existing Maryland Law:
This bill would include ANDERSON MANUFACTURING .223 CALIBER AM–15 AND .300 CALIBER AM–15 on the list of guns set forth in MD Code Public Safety 5-101(r)(2) that are now classified as assault weapons and thus were banned in 2013, with enactment of the Firearms Safety Act of 2013. Section 5-101(r)(2)(xv) already lists (and thus bans) the “Colt AR-15, CAR-15, and all imitations except Colt AR-15 Sporter H-BAR rifle.”
This bill would add a wholly new set of restrictions on temporary and permanent long gun “transfers” which would be defined in an extremely broad manner. The bills would severely criminalize any non-compliance with its many and highly complex new restrictions. The bills would effectively eviscerate loans of guns between law-abiding individuals, including fellow hunters and effectively destroy the market value of countless gun collections, as their sales would be all but banned. The bills mandate the use background checks by Federal Firearms Licensees (“FFLs”) for private loans of long guns in a manner that would actually violate federal law. The bill would create nightmarish uncertainty in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Finally, the bills ignore the well-documented reality that these sorts are long guns are almost never used in crime. Indeed, FBI statistics demonstrate that a person far more likely to be killed by a knife or hands or feet than a long gun. There is simply no public safety purpose that would be served by the bill.
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April 12, 2019
Mr. Christopher S. Shank
Chief Legislative Officer
100 State Circle Annapolis, MD 21401-1925
Re: Veto Request for SB1000/HB1343
This letter is submitted on behalf of Maryland Shall Issue, its officers and Board and all its members, to request that Governor Hogan veto SB1000/HB1343, which abolish the Handgun Permit Review Board. As you may know, Maryland Shall Issue is an all-volunteer, non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of gun owners’ rights in Maryland. The undersigned President of Maryland Shall Issue is an attorney and an active member of the Bar of the District of Columbia, having recently retired from the United States Department of Justice, after 33 years of practicing before the federal Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. Having just passed the out-of-state-attorney’s bar exam, the undersigned will also soon be an active member of the Maryland Bar.
What a Session! We saw the most anti-gun bills introduced since 2013. But as a community, we stood tall and defeated almost every single anti-gun measure. Maryland Shall Issue thanks each and every one of you who took time from your days, evenings, and endured sleepless nights to contribute to the defense and advancement of your fellow Marylanders rights. Despite this particularly hostile legislative session, you didn't tire or throw in the towel. Without your phone calls, meetings, letters, and testimony, who knows the damages and criminal penalties Marylanders would be facing this year. We know we can count on you when the time calls and are honored to have your support. Again, thank you.
MGA2019: Testimony in Opposition to SB1000 and HB1343 - Public Safety - Handgun Permit Review Board - Repeal
The Handgun Permit Review Board serves as civilian oversight of Maryland State Police decisions on applications for carry permits and modifications to existing permits. Removal of the Board will mean that the only recourse applicants would have from arbitrary State Police decisions would be an appeal to an administrative law judge for formal trial-type proceedings. As a practical matter, that means you would need a lawyer and that is expensive. The State Police know that, of course, so the elimination of the Board is simply part of their overall strategy of discouraging applications and appeals.
These bills would repeal MD Code Public Safety § 5-302 to eliminate the Handgun Permit Review Board established by that section. Under that Section, the Board consists of five persons appointed by the Governor. The bill would also amend 5–312 of the Public Safety Article to provide appeals from decisions concerning a handgun carry permit would be only to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), an administrative body which employs administrative law judges to conduct trial-type hearings in disputes over agency decisions. These bills must be considered in the greater context of the law and the facts associated with carry permits in Maryland. Thus viewed, the bills are misguided and uninformed.
MGA2019: Written Testimony in Opposition to SB8 - Criminal Law - Computer-Aided Firearm Fabrication - Prohibitions
Senate Bill 8 would create three new crimes, including two new possession criminal offenses into law.
House Bill 92 would amend MD Code Public Safety 5-304. That section sets out the requirements for an application for wear and carry permits issued by the Maryland State Police. It establishes fee caps for the applications and provides that the applicant for a carry permit may pay the fees under this section by “a personal check, business check, certified check or money order.” HB 92 would amend this last requirement, providing that the applicant must pay via “a method of payment approved by the Secretary.” For the reasons set forth below, this change is misguided and would impose additional barriers on applicants who lack the means to meet the State Police’s new requirements.
MGA2019: Information Only Testimony on SB97 and HB749 - Firearms - Right to Purchase, Possess, and Carry - Use of Medical Cannabis
These bills simply provide that “a person may not be denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm under this title solely on the basis that the person is authorized to use medical cannabis under title 13, subtitle 33 of the health – general article.” MSI takes no position with respect to the merits of this bill. However, we do wish to point out some legal realities for purposes of informing the debate.
MGA2019: Written estimony in Opposition to HB95 - Public Safety - Firearms Disqualifications - Antique Firearm (Shadé's Law)
These bills basically prohibit an otherwise disqualified person from possessing an “antique” firearm. Under current law, Public Safety, § 5-205 prohibits a disqualified person from possessing a rifle or a shotgun, but makes an exception from that prohibition for “a rifle or shotgun that is an antique firearm as defined in § 4-201 of the Criminal Law Article.” SB 448 and HB 402 remove that exception from Section 5-205.
MGA2019: Written Testimony in Opposition to HB96 and SB346 - Public Safety - Regulated Firearms - Transfer
HB 96 and SB 346 would amend MD Code, Public Safety § 5-124 to provide that “[i]n this section, ‘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.” The term “loan” is new to Title 5 and not defined either in these bills or elsewhere. Under these bills, a law-abiding non-prohibited adult who loans a handgun to another law-abiding, non-prohibited adult must go through all the transfer requirements imposed by Section 5-124.
MGA2019: Written Testimony in Opposition to HB786 and SB737 - Public Safety - Rifles and Shotguns - Transactions
These bills essentially copy virtually all of Maryland’s existing laws that severely restrict the purchase and transfer of handguns over to long guns, ordinary hunting rifles and shotguns, so as to impose most of the same restrictions on the possession and receipt of these long guns. The bills then add a wholly new set of restrictions on temporary and permanent long gun “transfers” which would be defined in an extremely broad manner. The bills would severely criminalize any non-compliance with its many and highly complex new restrictions.
MGA2019: Testimony in Opposition to HB612 - Public Safety - Regulated Firearms - Colt AR-15 Sporter H-BAR Rifle
Current law, the Statutory Scheme and HBARs:
Under current law, MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-101(r)(2) contains a long list of firearms which the statute defines as a “regulated firearm” That list includes, at Section 5- 101(r)(2)(xv) a “Colt AR–15, CAR–15, and all imitations except Colt AR–15 Sporter H–BAR rifle.” (Emphasis added). The term “HBAR” means that the rifle is equipped with a heavy barrel.
MGA2019: Testimony in Opposition to HB468 and SB441 - Public Safety - Access to Firearms - Storage Requirements
These bills would amend Md Code Criminal Law § 4-104. Specifically, current law provides that “[a] person may not store or leave a loaded firearm in a location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised child would gain access to the firearm” and makes any violation punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. A child is defined for these purposes as a person “under the age of 16 years.” This bill would change the definition of a child to a person under the age of 18 years and modifies the prohibition to provide that a “person may not store or leave a loaded OR UNLOADED firearm in a location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised child COULD gain access to the firearm, UNLESS THE FIREARM IS LOCKED.” It also changes the punishment from 1 year in prison to 2 years in prison.
MGA2019: Testimony in Support of HB342, HB541, and SB115 - Public Safety - Permit to Carry, Wear, or Transport a Handgun - Qualifications
Both of these bills would amend MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-306(b)(6)(ii) to specify that “self-protection,” or “self-defense” is a basis for finding a “good and substantial” reason for the issuance of a Maryland Wear and Carry Permit.
MGA2019: Written Testimony in Opposition to HB740 and SB882 - Criminal Law – Firearms – Computer–Aided Fabrication and Serial Number (3D Printed Firearms & Ghost Guns)
House Bill 740 and Senate Bill 882 would enact two new possession criminal offenses into law. MD Code Criminal Law §4-111 to create a new crime by providing that a person may not “transport” into the State any firearm made after 1968 that does not have a serial number imprinted by federally licensed manufacturer. Section 4-111 would also provide that a person may not “(2) manufacture, possess, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, or receive a firearm manufactured after 1968 that is not imprinted with a serial number issued by a federally licensed firearms manufacturer or importer.” A violation of this section is punishable by 3 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
A running guide on questions and answers for the legislation being considered in Annapolis this session.