An anti-gun group expressed support in their newsletter for changing Maryland law to allow for regulated firearm transfers to be delayed indefinitely. This was prompted by the state’s background check system becoming temporarily inoperable recently. Maryland law allows firearm dealers to transfer regulated firearms after waiting seven days if Maryland State Police (MSP) does not make a determination on the background check. As a result, dealers transferred a number of regulated firearms after the seven day wait expired, exactly as allowed by law.
The seven day wait was originally put in place prior to the digital age so that MSP would have time to manually conduct background checks. Despite the advent of computers allowing most background checks to be conducted near instantaneously, the archaic seven day wait remains in state law. Nonetheless, the law setting a limit for how long it can take for a background check to be completed before a dealer may transfer a firearm is important to ensure that Second Amendment rights are not excessively delayed by factors outside the control of the dealer or citizen, such as an overwhelming volume of checks or the political machinations of anti-gun politicians.
Marylanders need not be reminded of 2013, when background checks dragged out to 10 weeks to complete. A lawsuit with backing from NRA and the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association, and Maryland Shall Issue was eventually necessary to force the state to affirm that the law allowed regulated firearm transfers to take place after seven days and to not retaliate against dealers who chose to do so.
If this anti-gun group gets their way, Marylanders may be forced to wait up to ten weeks, or even more, to take possession of their firearm purchases. During these times of uncertainty when many of our friends, neighbors, and family members are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights for the first time, authorities neglecting to do their duty to process background checks will leave them defenseless.
Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates on our Second Amendment rights in Maryland.