Following hours of testifying and digital campaign efforts by Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, Maryland joins New York and New Jersey to address dangers created by the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen
Jaelynn’s Law is Named after Jaelynn Willey Who was Shot and Killed in 2018 at Greater Mills High School by a Shooter who Used their Parents Gun
The Maryland chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding the Maryland General Assembly for passing SB1 — the “Gun Safety Act of 2023”, HB824 and SB858/HB307 — Jaelynn’s Law. SB1 and HB824 address the new dangers created by the Supreme Court’s flawed decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The legislation strengthens the state’s concealed carry licensing laws and establishes a comprehensive list of sensitive locations where guns may not be carried, including bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, government buildings, schools, and polling places. Jaelynn’s Law will expand and strengthen Maryland’s secure storage requirements, helping to prevent unauthorized access to firearms by children and prevent gun violence.
“The General Assembly has prioritized the safety of our communities by ensuring kids can’t gain access to firearms, making sure people who are licensed to carry firearms in public are responsible and properly trained, and keeping guns out of places where they don’t belong —like polling places, schools, and bars and restaurants that serve alcohol,” said Melissa Ladd, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We continue to be tragically reminded, first in Nashville and now in Louisville, that when states weaken their gun laws or fail to pass proactive life-saving gun safety laws their communities are at a greater risk for gun violence. We applaud the leadership of Sen. Waldstreicher and Del. Clippinger and look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers next session.”
The Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen struck down an important provision of New York State’s concealed carry permitting law, dangerously lowering the bar for who can obtain a permit to carry guns in public. In addition to removing language similar to New York’s challenged law from the Maryland code, SB1 and HB824 respond to the heightened risk created by the court’s ruling and the resulting spike in public carry of handguns by updating and strengthening Maryland’s standards for who may be licensed to carry concealed guns in public, and creating clear rules on where guns are prohibited.
Under current Maryland law, it is a misdemeanor to leave a loaded firearm in a location where a child (defined as anyone under 16) would gain access. As a result, the law only applies if the gun is left loaded and is later accessed by a minor. Jaelynn’s Law addresses these issues by expanding the scope of the law so that it would apply in places where anyone 18 has access to it. It also calls for the creation of a robust public awareness campaign regarding the importance of secure storage. Under the bill, the Department of Health would create and publish a “Youth Suicide and Firearm Safe Storage Guide,” which would be publicly accessible, provided to school systems and service providers, and to firearms safety instructors across the state. .
Thanks to Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, Maryland continues to change the calculus on gun safety. Since the chapter’s founding 10 years ago, they have helped ensure the passage of landmark legislation in Maryland including the Firearm Safety Act, the Protect Maryland Survivors Act, and last session, after four years of advocacy, the Ghost Guns Prohibition bill. Volunteers will continue to be on the front lines to pass life-saving gun safety laws. Next session, they look forward to working with lawmakers to hold bad actors in the firearms industry accountable, and build on their important work to address police violence by ending qualified immunity — which would help address the lethal combination of systemic racism and police violence which all too often results in the tragic deaths and injuries particularly amongst Black and Latinx Marylanders.
In an average year in Maryland, 796 people die by guns and 1,363 people are wounded. Gun violence costs Maryland $10.5 billion each year. More information on gun violence in Maryland is available here.