ANNAPOLIS, M.D. — Today, over 400 volunteers of Maryland Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers were joined by lawmakers, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action, Angela Ferrell-Zabala, the Youth Director of Let’s Thrive Baltimore, Tyric Byer, and the Executive Director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, Karen Herren, for a kickoff press conference ahead of their annual day of advocacy for gun violence prevention in Annapolis. This year’s advocacy day focused on holding the gun industry accountable for their role in the crisis of gun violence and creating The Center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Intervention. Lawmakers included gun sense champions Governor Wes Moore, Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller, Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman, Senator Jeff Waldstreicher, State Delegate Luke Clippinger.
“In this moment, Maryland will get this right. We’re thankful for the things we’ve been able to work on thus far last year, but I want to be very clear to everyone else that we’re not done,” said Governor Wes Moore. “And that’s why, when we look at this legislative session, the ability to work together to create The Center for Firearm Prevention and Intervention, the first time in the history of the state of Maryland, we are going to get this done.”
“Our movement’s progress in Maryland last year was incredible thanks to our grassroots volunteers, who worked tirelessly to complete the gun sense trifecta,” said Angela-Ferrell Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action, “From banning ghost guns and passing Jaelynn’s law, it’s clear that our advocacy is paying off and making communities safer. Now, we’re ready to build on that momentum, take on the gun industry, and keep on saving lives.”
“Maryland continues to be on the frontlines of coming together to fight gun violence and today’s advocacy day is an example of this,” said Cindy Camp, a gun violence survivor and volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “I’m back in Annapolis today alongside many other survivors who continue, year after year, to fight for gun violence prevention measures that will keep our communities from having to experience our same grief again. I’m grateful to have met with so many of our gun sense lawmakers today, now it’s time for these gun safety bills to be enacted into law.”
“Our state has some of the strongest gun safety laws in the country because of my generation’s relentless advocacy to reduce gun violence – and we’re just getting started,” said Navian Scarlett, a volunteer leader with Students Demand Action in Frederick, Maryland. “We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines while guns continue to be the leading cause of our deaths. That’s why we’re hitting the ground running this session to build on Maryland’s existing gun safety laws and create a safer future for the next generation of students.”
This year’s advocacy day comes after Governor Moore signed three life-saving gun safety bills into law in 2023 to strengthen secure firearm storage, strengthen gun permitting, and keep guns out of sensitive locations to address the dangers created by the Supreme Court’s flawed decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Thanks to years of tireless advocacy from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, Maryland has the eighth strongest gun laws in the country, yet there is still more work to be done to keep communities safe from gun violence.
Volunteers met with lawmakers today to advocate for legislation that will hold bad actors in the firearms industry accountable when their misconduct harms Marylanders, and continue to address police violence by ending qualified immunity. They look forward to advocating in support of many of the measures proposed earlier this month by Governor Moore to expand access to economic support for victims and survivors of gun violence, a bill to strengthen the training and retention programs for public safety employees (the GAPS Act), and a bill to create a center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Intervention at the Department of Public Health.
In an average year, 796 people die by guns in Maryland and another 1,363 are wounded. Gun violence costs Maryland $10.5 billion each year, of which $383.9 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Maryland is available here.
To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.