As Democrats in Virginia are advancing Gov. Ralph Northam’s gun, magazine, and suppressor ban, their counterparts in the Maryland legislature are getting ready to crack down once again on the state’s legal gun owners with a gun ban bill of their own.
HB1261 has the backing of the House speaker in Annapolis, which gives it a little extra weight and improves the chances of the bill’s passage. That would be disastrous for gun owners in the state, who would not only face a registration requirement for their so-called assault weapons, but onerous fees that would prohibit many gun owners from complying with the requirement if they wanted to.
The proposed registration requirement would kick in on October 1st, 2020, and features a sliding scale of registration fees. The longer you wait to register a firearm, the more expensive it would be.
A PERSON WHO VOLUNTARILY REGISTERS AN ASSAULT LONG GUN OR A COPYCAT WEAPON AS DESCRIBED IN SUBPARAGRAPH (II) OF THIS PARAGRAPH IS SUBJECT TO:
1. ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 2021, AND BEFORE MAY 1, 2021, A REGISTRATION FEE NOT EXCEEDING $290 PER FIREARM;
2. ON OR AFTER MAY 1, 2021, AND BEFORE NOVEMBER 1, 2022, A REGISTRATION FEE NOT EXCEEDING $580 PER FIREARM;
AND 3. ON OR AFTER NOVEMBER 1, 2022, AND BEFORE MAY 1, 2023, A REGISTRATION FEE NOT EXCEEDING $1,000 PER FIREARM.
(IV) 1. A PERSON WHO LAWFULLY POSSESSED AN ASSAULT LONG GUN OR A COPYCAT WEAPON BEFORE OCTOBER 1, 2020, AND WHO REGISTERS THE ASSAULT LONG GUN OR COPYCAT WEAPON ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 2021, AND BEFORE MAY 1, 2023, ONLY AFTER BEING DISCOVERED IN POSSESSION OF THE ASSAULT LONG GUN OR COPYCAT WEAPON BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE PENALTIES IN § 4–306 OF THIS SUBTITLE.
According to the legislation, anyone found in possession of an unregistered “assault long gun” after May 1st, 2023 would be subject to a misdemeanor charge and could face up to a year in prison as a result.
The state of Maryland put its first “assault weapons ban” in place back in 2013 as part of the Firearms Safety Act gun control package, but since then, homicides have spiked in Baltimore. 2019 saw the highest per capita homicide rate in the city’s history, and so far 2020 is shaping up to be even worse.
There have been 27 homicides in Baltimore City so far in 2020.
This time last year there were 25 homicides.
“It’s a culture in this city that has to change,” said one Baltimore man. “Without a culture changing we’re going to continue to experience the same thing.”
HB1261 would do nothing to change the culture in Baltimore, nor would it do anything to lower the crime rate. Once again, lawmakers are focused on the state’s legal gun owners instead of getting serious about the career criminals who are making life miserable on so many Baltimore streets. It’s not just gun owners who should be furious about this bill. The good people in Maryland’s bad neighborhoods should be outraged as well. Instead of taking concrete steps to address the rising tide of criminality, Democrats in Annapolis are intent on restricting the rights of the law-abiding.