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Maryland Bill to Hold Bad Actors in the Firearm Industry Accountable Heads to Governor Wes Moore’s Desk; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond

April 8, 2024

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today, the Maryland chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement applauding Senate and House lawmakers for sending HB947, which will help hold bad actors in the firearm industry accountable when their misconduct harms Marylanders, to Governor Wes Moore’s desk for his signature. An identical bill, SB488, is still on the calendar for a final vote in the House before session adjourns at midnight tonight. The passage of HB947 comes after lawmakers sent another bill to create a statewide Center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Intervention to his desk on Thursday of last week. 

“Maryland has always been a national leader in the fight against gun violence, and today is another major example of the progress we can achieve when we put public safety first,” said Alison Rodner, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’ve long been advocating to hold bad actors in the firearm industry accountable when their dangerous practices hurt our communities, and we’re grateful to our gun sense champions for getting this crucial piece of legislation across the finish line. We’re looking forward to seeing this critical measure signed into law by Governor Moore so that bad actors in the firearm industry will finally be forced to put our communities’ safety ahead of profits.”  

Maryland already has several foundational gun laws in place, including extreme risk protection orders, strengthened background checks, prohibitions on domestic abusers access to guns, and a prohibition on ghost guns – contributing to its rank as 8th in the country for the strength of its gun safety laws. HB947 will further strengthen Maryland’s gun safety laws by creating a pathway to justice that will enable victims of gun violence in Maryland–with the aid of the Attorney General, Baltimore City Solicitor and county attorneys – to hold the bad actors in the gun industry accountable in civil court. 

HB947 will create a pathway to accountability for bad actors by setting minimum standards that firearm industry members who do business in the state must follow to prevent harm. Prior to this new state law, these bad actors enjoyed broad immunity from civil liability thanks to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), even in cases where their misconduct resulted in death, injury, or other harm. Now, those who fail to follow these standards could be held liable for contributing to a public nuisance. Holding bad actors accountable is critical to ensuring basic product safety and marketing standards are met and to compel the firearm industry to finally improve its dangerous business practices. The passage of this crucial piece of legislation was made possible because of the commitment and advocacy of gun sense legislators in Maryland, especially Senate President Ferguson, Senator Waldstreicher, Speaker Jones, Delegate Phillips, and Delegate Clippinger.  

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.

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