Restrictive gun law proposals spark debate in Maryland General Assembly


Elliot Wang, News Editor

As an increasingly high number of school shootings are being reported, more restrictive gun laws have been the subject of debate in the Maryland General Assembly. Because the newer members of the Maryland government are more Democratic, proposals for further restrictions against firearms in the state have continued.

According to The Washington Post, examples of potential new laws include “bills that include a ban on untraceable ‘ghost guns’ made with 3-D printers, an expansion of the state’s 2013 ban on the sale of military-style assault rifles to include firearm features popularized since then and a requirement for all private sales of rifles and shotguns to be subject to background checks.”

The latter has been the subject of heated debate in the Maryland General Assembly. According to Kate Ryan of Washington’s Top News, “James McGuire, of Frederick County, said he is concerned the bill would “create a class of felon by accident.” McGuire is a member of Patriot Picket, a group that supports Second Amendment rights. McGuire described a scenario in which two friends go out for an afternoon at a shooting range, and they stop for a bite to eat. “I go inside; he’s in the car with my firearm. I have now effectively loaned him my firearm. We’re now both felons under this bill.’ ‘There’s an exception for any kind of temporary transfer, regardless of the circumstances,’” [Democratic Delegate Vanessa] Atterbeary said, regarding similar scenarios like the one McGuire described.

The organization for this year’s debates over gun control has changed from past years. Previously gun laws were discussed in one day, and on many occasions activists planned rallies and other events to occur on that day. “In 2013, gun rights activists said as many as 4,000 people rallied against an assault-rifle ban, which passed anyway,” according to The Washington Post. This year, the discussions were spread over multiple days during January and many of the discussions involving the bill for background checks of all rifle and shotgun purchases were held earlier in the session, leaving activists no the time or warning to assemble.

Although this state is mainly Democratic, some of the proposed restrictions have not been accepted. According to The Washington Post, one bill proposed a $50,000 assault-rifle buyback program throughout the state, but was rejected after budget analysts studied the proposal and realized that the cost per year could be $1.9 million.
MCPS has also taken the safety of their students into account. In the superintendent’s proposed budget, security was increased to include new security teams who would be available for elementary schools. Security positions in elementary and high schools were also expanded.

According to Michelle Murilo of Washington’s Top News, Anne Dadarian, president of the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals, said with regard to this new policy, “‘We would like to share our appreciation for increased funding for security positions in our middle and high schools. Unfortunately, violence in schools and society has increased and security for elementary schools should no longer be considered optional. It is a necessity.’”