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Read about the progress of legislation and news with regards to gun owners rights and the National Rifle Association.

2017 Maryland General Assembly – Significant Bill Concerns

House Bill 159 / Senate Bill 946 – “Weapon-Free Higher Education Zones”

This bill, back for a second attempt after it failed to pass last year due to the efforts of our community, seeks to criminalize the possession of firearms on property owned/operated by the public institutions of higher learning in Maryland. While being sold as a simple “codification” of existing college policies, this misguided legislation creates statutory “gun free zones” out of not just the campus and associated buildings, but out of common streets, farms, “extension” service locations, housing units, etc., if they are owned by or used primarily by a public institution of higher learning. It imposes extremely stiff penalties which will result in loss of firearms rights for as simple a violation as driving down a street that traverses a college campus while traveling to another destination, if there is an otherwise lawful firearm in the vehicle (whether private vehicle or public transportation). Every attempt at amending this bill during debate before passage in the House of Delegates was met with hostile opposition and voted down, mostly along party lines.

House Bill 1448 – “Public Safety – Rifles & Shotguns – Transactions” / Senate Bill 948 – “Public Safety – Rifles & Shotguns – Secondary Transactions”

While the titles are different, these are the same bills that were also attempted last year. As we have seen time and time again, there are those in the Maryland General Assembly that will never be content until all firearms transactions are nearly impossible to complete. These bills would require the involvement of a “State-regulated Firearms Dealer” in most lawful transfers of long-guns between law-abiding citizens of this state. They also force a requirement for background checks on those transfer conditions. Lastly, the bills impose penalties for violation that are not just lifetime federal prohibitions on firearms possession, but are more onerous than applied to many violent crimes.

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