While some folks call Maryland the Free State, Maryland gun laws are some of the strictest in the nation. Most long guns are fairly easy to buy, but purchasers must obtain a permit before buying a handgun.
Maryland also bans certain rifles that the state deems “assault weapons” and limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds. The state even requires private handgun sales to be process through a licensed FFL dealer.
However, Maryland gun laws are going to become even stricter when three new laws go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018.
New Maryland Gun Laws
The first law bans “bump stocks.” These devices, which speed up the rate of fire in semi-auto rifles, have been been a major target for the anti-gun crowd since the shooting at the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas.
Another law taking affect in October requires those convicted of domestic abuse to surrender guns to law enforcement or a firearms dealer. It is already illegal for anyone convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor to purchase a firearm. Now; however, those same people will have to give up previously purchased firearms.
Finally, Maryland has become one of the states instituting a “Red Flag” law. While Red Flag laws have been around a while, they are fairly new to most people. Only a few states have passed one of these laws designed to prevent violence by allowing courts to take firearms from individuals deemed “dangerous” to themselves and others.
Red Flag Laws
Proponents of Red Flag laws claim they are a tool to prevent violence. Through the law, depending on the state, courts can temporarily restrict firearm access to potentially dangerous people if asked. In Maryland, those asking for the court order must be police, medical personnel, close relatives or those in a relationship with the person. Those in favor of the laws say they can prevent violence, such as the shooting at a Rite Aid distribution center.
According to CBS Baltimore, family members of Snochia Moseley told investigators that she had been showing signs of mental illness. In fact, Moseley had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. However, this did not prevent the 26-year-old from purchasing a handgun and killing three people and then herself.
While no one seems to be against keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, some people do have concerns because of due process. The National Rifle Association has even claimed to favor some of these laws, with certain requirements, but fought to stop others the group deemed anti-gun.
Of course, Maryland gun laws have not lowered gun violence in the state, according to FBI crime stats. In fact, Baltimore was deemed the most dangerous city in America by USA Today. Only time will tell if these new laws will be effective.