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2010 Legislative Session Comes to an End in Maryland!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Maryland General Assembly has adjourned for the 2010 session and Maryland’s firearm owners were able to defeat three tyrannical gun bills, Senate Bill 516, Senate Bill 645 and House Bill 820, designed to cede more of your Second Amendment rights to vehement anti-gun politicians.

Senate Bill 516, sponsored by State Senator Mike Lenett (D-19), would have designated certain firearms as "assault weapons" and would have prohibited the possession, transfer or receipt of these firearms by law-abiding Maryland residents.

Under his proposed legislation, Maryland would have been forced to adopt policies broader than those imposed under the now defunct Federal Assault Weapons ban of 1994.  SB516 would have allowed you to keep any preexisting “assault weapon” as long as you agree to register it with the State Police prior to October 1, 2010.  A registration system that could have been used to wrongly target law-abiding citizens that own a firearm similar to one used in a crime.

Facing serious opposition and pressure from gun owners, Senator Lenett chose to withdraw his legislation shortly after introduction.

Senate Bill 645 and House Bill 820 could be considered the most egregious attempt to limit your Second Amendment rights and might be a harbinger of things to come if anti-gun politicians are able to gain further clout in Maryland.

As proposed, SB 645 and HB 820, introduced by State Senator Brian Frosh (D-16) and Delegate Sandy Rosenberg (D-41), would have required anyone wanting to purchase a handgun to possess a “Handgun Permit to Purchase”.  The permits, which could be denied by the Maryland State Police, would be required before a federally licensed dealer could transfer a handgun to a purchaser. The State Police would have as long as 30 days to review the permit application and applicants would have to pay an unspecified nonrefundable fee and demonstrate "satisfactory" completion of an approved firearm safety course. 

Of course, since the legislation didn’t repeal Maryland’s existing purchase requirements, prospective handgun purchasers would still have to fill out the Maryland State Police purchaser form, pay another $10 fee, wait at least 7 business days and undergo another background check.

After gun owners packed the Committee rooms, the House Judiciary Committee defeated HB 820 and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee never brought SB 645 up for a vote.

Advocates of self-defense have good reason to cheer, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 411, sponsored by State Senator Mac Middleton (D-28). The bill provides civil immunity from damages when force, including deadly force, is used and reasonable under the circumstances to repel an attack in the person’s dwelling or place of business.  SB 411 passed the House unanimously, 140-0 and passed the Senate 45-2. The bill now awaits Governor Martin O’Malley (D) for his signature or veto.

Additionally, four bills expanding Sunday hunting have been passed by both chambers and are currently awaiting the Governor’s consideration:

House Bill 245- Authorizing a person to hunt turkey in Allegany County and Garrett County on the last Sunday in April and the first Sunday in May, except on Easter Sunday.

House Bill 246- Authorizing a person in Allegany County or Garrett County to hunt for deer on private property with a bow and arrow during open season on the last three Sundays in October and the second Sunday in November.

House Bill 301- Authorizing a person in Calvert County to hunt deer on private property with a bow and arrow during open season on the last three Sundays in October and the second Sunday in November; and authorizing a person in Calvert County and St. Mary's County to hunt deer on private property on the first Sunday of bow hunting season in November and each Sunday during the deer firearms season.

House Bill 851- Authorizing a person in Talbot County to hunt deer on private property with a bow and arrow during open season on the last three Sundays in October and the second Sunday in November.

Please contact Governor O’Malley by phone at 1-800-811-8336 and respectfully urge him to sign SB 411 and the Sunday hunting bills.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.