Baltimore, Maryland has a murder problem, and Baltimore County lawmakers are hoping that new laws aimed at local gun stores will cut down on firearms thefts and illegal gun use.
Instead of reducing crime, the “Secure All Firearms Effectively Act” seems more likely to put gun stores out of business if they can’t abide by the onerous and costly security measures that will be required in order to receive a county license to operate a gun store.
To get a license, establishments and gun shows have to implement a Baltimore County Police Department-approved safety plan. Under that plan, a temporary gun show must have a security plan approved by the chief of police that includes an alarm system, video surveillance and a live security guard.
Other requirements include the establishments and shows must be monitored by the alarm system registered with the county and a video system, physical barriers preventing vehicle intrusion into the building, security gates or screens over the windows and some sort of security gate or screen over the doors.
When the state of Illinois recently enacted a similar licensing bill, about half of the state’s existing FFL’s didn’t even bother applying for a license, and chose instead to close up shop rather than go bankrupt attempting to comply with all of the new security requirements.
On the one hand, these county officials do have a legitimate public safety concern about thefts from firearm retailers. On the other hand, if this isn’t really an attempt to drive as many gun stores as possible out of the county, you’d think the county executive would be offering up some grant money to help these gun stores, instead of just foisting tens of thousands of dollars in sudden expenses on these shops.
As it stands, the move is likely going to force some businesses to close and others to move outside of the county if they can’t afford the security upgrades. Don’t be surprised to see a push for similar standards statewide in the next legislative session, unfortunately. Anti-gun advocates in Maryland aren’t interested in targeting Baltimore-area gun stores; they’ve got every gun store in the state in their metaphorical crosshairs. Seeing the reduced number of gun stores in Illinois after that state’s licensing bill became law must have them salivating to do something similar in Maryland.
First things first, however. Baltimore County’s gun store licensing bill is set to be introduced in the County Council on December 16th, and it’s expected to easily pass. You can check out the full list of potential requirements for gun shops here.