Following Hours of Testifying and Digital Campaign efforts by Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers the Maryland General Assembly Passes Critical Legislation to Strengthen Secure Firearm Storage, Strengthen Gun Permitting, Keep Guns out of Sensitive Locations
Maryland Joins New York and New Jersey in Strengthening Permitting Process and Keeping Guns out of Sensitive Places, like Bars and Schools, in Response to the Supreme Court’s Bruen Decision
Jaelynn’s Law which Expands Secure Storage in Maryland to Keep Guns out of the Hands of Kids is Named after Jaelynn Willey Who was Shot and Killed in 2018 at Greater Mills High School by a Shooter who Brought their Parent’s Gun to School
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 Maryland Governor Wes Moore for signing 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. Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers spent countless hours advocating for all three bills to pass, from testifying to contacting lawmakers, and joined Governor Moore to sign the gun safety bills today.
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.
“There have been more mass shootings than days this year and gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death for children in Maryland, and gun safety has never been more important. We’re proud to stand with Governor Moore as he prioritizes the safety of our communities,” said Ellen Ginsberg, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We look forward to continuing our work with the Governor and General Assembly to take life-saving action on gun safety so we can protect our communities and save lives.”
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 strengthens the law by expanding its scope so that it would apply in places where anyone under 18 may gain 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.