Frequently Asked Questions: 2019 Maryland Gun Bills
A running guide on questions and answers for the legislation being considered in Annapolis this session.
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Frequently Asked Questions
AR15 Ban - MSI OPPOSES
HB612 "Public Safety - Regulated Firearms - Colt AR-15 Sporter H-Bar Rifle" - Hearing on 2/25 in the House Judiciary Committee at 10am
Q: What guns are being banned?
A: Any AR15 bought post 10/01/2013. Heavy Barrel Armalite Rifle (HBAR) AR15 models were exempted in 2013 from the ban on many commonly owned semi-automatic rifles. There is no grandfathering. Any affected AR15 would need to be destroyed or otherwise gotten rid of by 10/01/2019 or the owner is at risk of being convicted of a disqualifying misdemeanor for possession.
Q: I live outside Maryland. Could I bring an AR15 into the state for a competition or range trip?
A: Not unless you owned it before 10/01/2013. HB612 prohibits bringing any AR15 purchased after 10/01/2013 into the state.
Q: Are current or honorably discharged members of the armed forces exempt?
A: No. Only current law enforcement and those members retired in good standing are exempt.
Long Gun Qualification License - MSI OPPOSES
HB786 "Public Safety - Rifles and Shotguns - Transactions" - Hearing on 2/25 in the House Judiciary Committee at 10am
SB737 "Public Safety - Rifles and Shotguns - Transactions" - Hearing on 2/27 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee at 12pm
Q: How many homicides are committed with long guns in MD?
A: The latest FBI UCR report says that 5 people were murdered with a rifle and 3 with a shotgun 2017. Compare that to 339 with handguns, 23 with an unknown firearm, 46 by knife or other cutting instrument, 50 with other weapons, and 11 with hands and feet.
Q: Will I need a license to buy guns?
A: Yes. Buying any modern firearm in MD will require either the Handgun Qualification License for handguns and the new Long Gun Qualification License for rifle and shotgun purchases. They are separate licenses! If you want pistols and rifles, for example, you’d need the HQL and LGQL! The only exceptions are Curio & Relic (C&R) firearms and antiques.
Q: What does "long gun" mean?
A: Any rifle or shotgun you can buy off the shelf right now in MD. That's everything from a Ruger 10/22 to a Mossberg 500 and everything in between. Excluding C&R and antiques, if it's a bolt-action, pump-action, semi-automatic, lever-action, single shot -- doesn't matter -- if it's a rifle or shotgun that's legal to buy in MD today, it's affected by these bills.
Q: What would I need for the Long Gun Qualification License?
A: The same requirements currently needed for the Handgun Qualification License. Training, background check, fingerprints, and a fee of $50 paid to the state. The State Police would have 30 days to send the card to you in the mail before you could make any purchases. Essentially, a $200 rifle for a first-time-buyer would be at least and likely more than $400 with the licensing requirements.
Q: I have a HQL and want a shotgun. Do I need the Long Gun Qualification license too?
A: Yes. The licenses do not crossover. The HQL is only for handguns and the LGQL for rifles and shotguns.
Q: Would being a Designated Collector get around the 1 purchase per 30-day rule for rifles and shotguns?
A: No. Designated Collector status is only for "regulated firearms." Though rifles and shotguns would be treated like handguns in regard to needing a license and registration, they would not be "regulated firearms" by name.
Q: Is this a registry?
A: Yes and no. There is nothing currently in this bill that compels registration of firearms you currently own unless you transfer or sell a long gun to someone else. Any new purchases would be registered with the Maryland State Police. Any new Maryland resident would have 90 days to register any firearms they own, since MD already requires this of handguns and would for long guns with these bills.
Q: How could I sell someone a firearm?
A: Just as with transferring ownership of a handgun to another MD resident, one would have to complete a transfer at a gun shop willing to do the transfer or at a Maryland State Police barracks. Gun shops are free to establish their own fees. Private transfers without doing one of the mentioned methods would be criminal.
Q: Could I still buy a gun at a gun show?
A: Maybe, but this licensing requirement would certainly hamper the success of gun shows in Maryland. If every gun buyer needs a license and cannot take any purchases home with them due to the 7-day-wait that would apply to all modern firearms, why go? Every rifle and shotgun a dealer takes to a show with them would have to come back with them to their shop for pickup, in addition to the handguns they need to bring back.
Q: Where can I find a class to get training?
A: That remains to be seen. Teaching the course would require that the instructor be qualified by the NRA, MSP or another nationally recognized organization to teach both rifle and shotgun.
Redefining "Transfer" - MSI OPPOSES
HB96 "Public Safety - Regulated Firearms - Transfer" - Hearing on 2/25 in the House Judiciary Committee at 10am
This bill is particularly tricky. You can read our testimony on it here for a full explanation.
Q: What does this bill do?
A: A law-abiding non-prohibited adult who loans a handgun to another law-abiding, non-prohibited adult must go through all the transfer requirements as if they were actually selling or permanently transferring ownership of a handgun or regulated firearm.
Q: What does that mean for me?
A: The bill includes in its definition of “transfer” all loans of handguns between law-abiding adults except for those loans which are “temporary” and “gratuitous” and even those sorts of temporary loans are exempt from coverage only so long as the persons involved stay “at the same location for the duration of the exchange.” This definition would criminalize a loan of a handgun between a husband and wife in the home if either spouse were to thereafter leave the house for any reason. That would mean that one spouse could not loan a handgun to the other spouse for self-protection in the home while away on a business trip. For the same reasons, the owner of a handgun could no longer allow his or her spouse to take the owner’s handgun to the range for practice. Effectively, each spouse would be required to own their own firearms because sharing would be a “transfer,” subject to the Form 77-R process at the State Police barracks. Any knowing “participation” in a failure to follow that procedure is punishable with 5 years in prison under Section 5-144. Similarly, a person would no longer be able to borrow the handgun from any other person, including a member of the family, to take the range to try out unless he or she was accompanied to the range by that person.
Q: Can I rent a pistol at the range?
A: NO. This bill would also mean that established ranges may not “rent” a handgun to a person for use at the range. This bill defines a “transfer” to include all non-gratuitous loans of a regulated firearm between two individuals. The proper legal term for such a transaction is “rent.” Yet, the term “rent” is defined under MD Code, Public Safety, § 5-101(s) as meaning “the temporary transfer for considerationof a regulated firearm that is taken from the property of the owner of the regulated firearm.” Under that definition, ranges can and do rent firearms to customers for temporary use at the range without regard to provisions regulating the “rent” of handguns because such rental firearms never leave the “property of the owner.” However, that rental would not be possible under this bill because this bill makes such a loan permissible only if it is “gratuitous,” viz., not for “consideration.” A commercial rental at a range is, of course, almost never “gratuitous.” Such rentals are a common part of the business of many ranges.
Homemade Firearms - MSI OPPOSES
HB740 "Criminal Law – Firearms – Computer–Aided Fabrication and Serial Number (3–D Printed Firearms and Ghost Guns)" - Hearing on 2/25 in the House Judiciary Committee at 10am
SB882 "Criminal Law – Firearms – Computer–Aided Fabrication and Serial Number (3–D Printed Firearms and Ghost Guns)" - Hearing on 2/27 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee at 12pm
SB008 "Criminal Law - Computer-Aided Firearm Fabrication - Prohibitions" - Hearing Canceled
Q: What if I made my own legal firearms at home?
A: With HB740 and SB882, current possession of any guns not made by a licensed manufacturer with a serial number after 1968 will be a crime punishable by a disqualifying misdemeanor upon conviction. They’d have to be destroyed or otherwise gotten rid of by 10/01/2019 to be in compliance. Making any guns after that date would also be a crime. SB008 would apply to firearms not exclusively made by manual methods.
Q: Can I have gun files?
A: SB008 would criminalize the possession of information. Having, sharing, or acquiring files you could put into a 3D printer, milling machine, or other device to aid in the making of a firearm would be illegal. It's tantamount to book burning in the digital age and purely unenforceable. Can't stop the signal, Mal. HB740 and SB882 sidestep the 1st Amendment questions by only targeting firearms you make or possess, regardless of method.
Q: Can I engrave a serial number to my homemade firearms to keep in compliance?
A: No. Only serial numbers issued by a licensed manufacturer would be acceptable.
Q: What's considered a gun?
A: HB740 and SB882 say:
(I) A WEAPON, OTHER THAN AN ANTIQUE FIREARM, THAT EXPELS, IS DESIGNED TO EXPEL, OR MAY READILY BE CONVERTED TO EXPEL A PROJECTILE BY THE ACTION OF AN EXPLOSIVE;OR
(II) THE FRAME OR RECEIVER OF SUCH A WEAPON.
Q: Will MSI and other groups sue should any of this become law?
A: Probably, but certainly not without your support.
Q: Is there a petition I can sign to Oppose all these proposed laws?