Bills Seek to Close Dangerous Loophole in Existing Background Check Law, Improve Enforcement of Current Gun Laws and Keep Guns Away from Domestic Abusers
Moms Demand Action Members to Testify in Support of Bills Later Today in Senate Committee; New Polling Shows Overwhelming Support for These Measures
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Members of the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today joined leaders from the Maryland State Senate and House of Delegates at a press conference to announce their support for a package of recently introduced gun safety bills. The group also released new polling from Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund showing significant support for the measures and later today, moms will testify in support of the three bills.
Senate Bill 947 would ensure that all rifle and shotgun sales include a criminal background check, as all handgun sales currently do. Senate Bill 944 would improve enforcement of existing laws by giving local law enforcement the necessary tools to pursue criminals who illegally try to buy guns. Senate Bill 943 would set forth a clear process for convicted domestic abusers to turn in their guns.
“It is simply wrong that in a state like Maryland certain types of guns still aren’t subject to background checks – it is just plain sensible policy that all guns sold in Maryland should go through basic safety checks,” said Jennifer Stapleton, volunteer leader of the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “I’m hopeful that our presence here today will make it as clear as can be to state legislators that closing the rifle and shotgun loophole is long overdue.”
The new poll released today found that overwhelming majorities of Marylanders support these common-sense measures. The polling found that 94 percent of likely Maryland voters support criminal background checks for all gun sales, including sales rifles and shotguns. Eighty-nine percent of Republicans support this policy, as do 91 percent of Marylanders who live in gun-owning households. Additionally, 85 percent of likely Maryland voters support giving local law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on people who illegally try to buy a gun and fail a background check. That includes 85 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Marylanders who live in gun-owning households.
“The bottom line is that Senate Bill 947 has the potential to save lives,” said Don Singleton, a Mardela Springs resident and hunter. “I can say with certainty that a 90-second background check will not negatively affect my hunting activities whatsoever. To suggest otherwise is simply disingenuous and wrong. Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Dereck Davis deserve to be commended for taking the necessary steps toward ensuring that Maryland remains in the forefront as a national leader on gun safety.”
Added Stapleton, “It’s also high time for Maryland to do more to protect women by keeping guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers. That’s why passing Senate Bill 943 is so critically important. It shouldn’t be easy for convicted abusers to keep their guns. It is absolutely vital for the legislature to put in place a clear requirement for these dangerous individuals to turn in their weapons.”
- Senate Bill 947/House Bill 692: For two decades, Maryland has required criminal background checks for all sales and transfers of handguns. But dangerous people can buy rifles and shotguns from unlicensed sellers in Maryland – including strangers they meet at gun shows and online – with no background check whatsoever. Senate Bill 947, introduced by Senator Jamie Raskin and its companion House Bill, HB 692, introduced by Delegate Dereck Davis, would close this loophole.
- Senate Bill 944/House Bill 1340: It is illegal under federal and state law for certain people, such as felons and domestic abusers, to attempt to buy a gun. When these people fail background checks, they have committed a crime. However, information about people who fail background checks under “lie and try” offenses is rarely shared with local law enforcement and prosecutors – even though people too dangerous to own a gun are seeking to purchase one. Maryland can fill this gap by investigating failed background checks. Raskin’s Senate Bill 944 and House Bill 1340, introduced by Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, would require the Maryland State Police to inform local law enforcement after each failed handgun background check.
- Senate Bill 943/House Bill 1001: Maryland and federal law prohibit firearm possession by criminals convicted of domestic violence crimes and abusers subject to final protective orders. However, there is no process in place for those convicted abusers to turn in their guns. The practical result is that dangerous people who have just been convicted of domestic abuse are able to leave the courthouse and go home to their guns, even though they are prohibited from possessing them. Raskin’s Senate Bill 943 and House Bill 1001, introduced by Delegate Will Smith, would close this dangerous gap by setting forth a clear process for domestic abusers who become prohibited from firearm possession as a result of a conviction to turn in their guns to law enforcement or a federally licensed firearms dealer.