Prepare for the First Gun Bill Day of 2023
Mark your calendars! A number of bills we strongly oppose, SB 1, SB 86, and SB 113 are being scheduled to be heard at 1pm on February 7th in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Testimony signup must be done on February 6th from 8am to 3pm.
See our guide on submitting testimony: https://bit.ly/3QKUQa2
SB 1 provides that ”a person may not wear, carry or transport a firearm onto the real property of another” unless given express permission. For good measure, it also flatly bans such possession “within 100 feet of a place of accommodation.” A “place of public accommodation” is defined by reference to MD Code, State Government, § 20-301, which defines the term to include any retail establishment, such as an inn, motel or hotel, restaurant or theater and other places that “offers goods, services, entertainment, recreation, or transportation.” Violators face up to a year in jail for a conviction.
SB 86 would raise the age of possession of ordinary long guns to 21, threatening every young adult in Maryland with criminal prosecution for keeping arms and effectively ending hunting by such persons unless they are “under the supervision” of someone 21 or older AND have the permission of a parent. A violation of this ban on possession of a long gun is punishable by 5 years in prison. The bill also bans the mere sale or transfer of ammunition (of any type) to a person under 21 and a violation of that provision is punishable by a year in prison.
SB 113 seeks to undermine the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a federal law that shields firearms industry members from frivolous civil lawsuits. This bill represents a national push from gun control organizations to generally weaken the firearms industry as a whole, so as to limit the market of available firearms to the general public. Versions of this bill were submitted last year, with neither advancing from their respective committees.
On January 17th, MSI President, Mark Pennak, spoke before the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee about NYSRPA v. Bruen on the impact the ruling has on the state’s gun laws. Others speaking before the committee were representatives from the Maryland State Police Licensing Division, Daniel Webster from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, and Samuel Levy, counsel for Everytown for Gun Safety. Much of the hearing pertained to “sensitive place” restrictions where firearms cannot be legally carried. When Mark was asked by Chair of the committee, Senator Smith, if he thought there would be legal challenges to the prohibited places in Maryland’s laws and regulations, Mark replied, “I do and I intend to bring them.”
There was also substantial debate about thefts of firearms from vehicles and which time period the legislature needs to look to find historical analogues. Everytown’s counsel claims the Court did not answer that question definitively, dismissing Mark’s assertion that they must look to 1791 when the Bill of Rights was adopted.
Mark’s presentation to the Committee can be seen here:
The entire hearing can be seen here:
The Committee also held a hearing on firearms crimes in Baltimore. That can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmMKEsv2ruo
All of the hearing’s documents, including our written testimony, can be found here: https://bit.ly/3iHhnIt
If any of these bills are to be stopped, it will only be because of your engagement with your representatives. You can find out who your State senator and delegates are at https://bit.ly/2uyerBk. We’ve prepared a guide on how the legislative process works, speaking with your lawmakers, and testifying HERE. Your participation is critical in protecting your rights and those of your fellow Marylanders.
If you’re not already a member of MSI, don’t be a free rider. Join us. It’s one of the best ways to stay in the know. MSI officers and directors are all volunteers and work without pay so your dues and contributions go toward advocacy and if needed, litigation.
More bills will be introduced in the coming weeks. Follow our Gun Bill Tracker to stay on top of them.