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Maryland Senate Passes Critical Bill to Hold Bad Actors in the Firearm Industry Accountable; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond 

March 15, 2024

Passage Today Follows the Testimony of Volunteers with Moms Demand Action in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee 

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today, the Maryland chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, issued the following statement applauding the Senate for passing critical legislation (SB488) to hold bad actors in the firearm industry accountable when their reckless misconduct harms Marylanders. The passage of today’s bill through the Senate comes after the testimony of volunteers and survivors with Moms Demand Action in the Judicial Proceedings Committee. It will now go to the House. 

“Accountability for bad actors in the firearm industry has been a missing piece of Maryland’s gun laws, and this piece of legislation takes a huge step forward to remedy that,” said Alison Rodner, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “For too long, the gun industry has had too little incentive to change their dangerous and irresponsible practices, and we’re grateful that our lawmakers, led by Senator Jeff Waldstreicher, have said no more by passing this bill through the Senate. We’re hopeful that it will be passed through the House quickly and head to Governor Moore’s desk so that it can become law.” 

SB488 will allow civil suits to move forward against bad actors in the gun industry despite the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which was passed in 2005 and has since protected gun manufacturers accused of negligence from being sued. This protection has prevented many individuals and communities injured by gun violence from filing civil suits against these bad actors, giving the gun industry little incentive to change their dangerous and irresponsible practices. Creating a path to accountability for gun manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers is essential to stemming the flow of illegal guns into Maryland, ensuring basic product safety and marketing standards are met. 

Yesterday, lawmakers in the Senate also passed SB475, which would create a Center for Firearm Violence Prevention in the Maryland Department of Health to address both the public safety and public health concerns associated with gun violence. A policy priority of Governor Wes Moore announced earlier this year, a Center for Firearm Violence Prevention will enable our state to reduce firearm violence, harm from firearm violence, and misuse of firearms in the state through collaboration between the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, The Maryland State Police, and other Maryland stakeholders. It will also place an emphasis on supporting communities and community partners that are most exposed to gun violence and promote the development of evidence-based firearm violence prevention initiatives in affected communities. 

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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