More Gun Bills Ahead - A Quick Update

More Gun Bills Ahead

Your testimony, calls, emails, and interactions with your lawmakers didn’t disappoint on February 7th! Marylanders of all walks spoke in vigorous and articulate opposition to SB 1SB 86, and SB 113. Links to watch that (length) testimony are available in each bill's respective link in our gun bill tracker. The work isn’t done, however as there are more bills being heard in other committees, including two bills, HB 307 and HB 481, being heard on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, in the House Judiciary Committee.

Testimony on HB 481 and HB 307 is due TODAY by 3pm. They’re being heard in the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, February 15th at 1pm.

See our guide on submitting testimony and using your MyMGA Account here:

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HB 481 is the bill submitted with the support of Baltimore’s new State’s Attorney, Ivan Bates. It increases the penalty for the illegal wear, carry, or transport of a handgun from up to three years to five years. While proponents see the increase as a necessary tool to combat violent criminals, the likely reality is that more innocent, otherwise law-abiding Marylanders will go to jail. The law the bill amends, MD Code, Public Safety, § 4-203, was first enacted in 1972 before the State was compelled to recognize the right to keep and bear arms outside the home. As we have written extensively on before, a violation of Section 4-203(a)(1) is a strict liability crime, meaning it doesn’t matter if the violator intended to break the law. For a permit holder, this is critically important to understand. Simply forgetting the permit at home or incidentally carrying in any of the numerous gun-free zones within the state leaves one vulnerable to prosecution under Section 4-203. A conviction of under Section 4-203 is permanently disqualifying.

If anything, Section 4-203 should be amended to include a “mens rea” element that makes clear that the State much show that the defendant “knowingly” violated Section 4-203. Such a requirement is found in other areas of State firearms law and in virtually all federal firearms statutes. Section 4-203 should likewise amend Section 4-203 so that the penalty for an otherwise law-abiding individual should amount to no more than a fine. Certainly, any term of imprisonment should not exceed two years, as more than two years is what triggers the federal and State lifetime prohibition on firearms possession. There are other tools available to prosecutors to deal with violent criminals. Adding two years won’t dissuade those who don’t care for public safety from committing violent acts, but it will make carrying a firearm for self-defense more legally dangerous for the peaceable, law-abiding Marylander. We urge an unfavorable report on the bill.

Find our full testimony here:

HB 307 and SB 858 are the latest iterations of attempts to criminalize how firearms are stored within gun owners’ homes. Like last year’s bills, these bills contain provisions that are flatly unconstitutional, dangerously vague, and practically impossible to comply with. For instance, the bills require that firearms be left or stored unloaded and only operable to adults. We know of no manner of firearms storage in which the firearm is operable by an 18-year-old but is not by a 17-year-old or a prohibited person. Any such storage device must also be secured with a “tamper-resistant” lock, but that term is undefined. Furthermore, the locks approved under current law by the Handgun Roster Board for use with handguns are insufficient under the terms of the bills, as they are not themselves locked containers. Instead of incentivizing safe storage, the bills leave violators of these vague requirements facing criminal sanctions. We much prefer to approach taken by Senator Jill Carter’s bill, SB 655, which provides incentives for acquiring safe storage devices.

We urge unfavorable reports of HB 307 and SB 858. Find our full testimony here:

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Testimony in Opposition to SB 1, a "Bruen Response" Bill


SB 1 Criminal Law - Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearms - Restrictions (Gun Safety Act of 2023)
Sponsored by Senator Waldstreicher
Heard before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 2/7/2023:

MSI's Oral Testimony in Opposition

SB 1 as passed by the Senate being heard before the House Judiciary Committee on 3/29/2023 at 1pm.

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Maryland Shall Issue®, Inc.
9613 Harford Rd
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Baltimore, MD 21234-2150

Phone:  410-849-9197