AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Maryland will never be mistaken as a pro-gun state. It’s embraced plenty of anti-gun laws in recent years, so much so that I’d wondered if the state was trying to compete with California, New Jersey and Massachusetts for the title of most anti-gun in the nation.

So imagine my surprise to learn that a couple of anti-gun bills, bills that seem to have been embraced in plenty of other anti-gun states, died as the General Assembly adjourned.

One measure would have required background checks anytime someone buys a rifle or shotgun.

Supporters say it was needed to close a loophole in Maryland law enabling private sales of long guns without background checks. Opponents say it would have made it harder for law-abiding gun owners to possess and transfer their property.

A bill to ban 3D-printed gun blueprints and “ghost guns” also failed.

I’m thrilled to hear this. Universal background checks and bans on homebuilt firearms are stupid, primarily because they do little to nothing to stop criminals from committing crimes. They simply make life inconvenient for law-abiding citizens and make it more difficult for them to defend themselves.

However, I also have to say that I’m a little confused as to why they failed. Much as I’d like to believe Maryland is starting to turn pro-gun, I see that as highly unlikely. Something else must be going on.

I’ll admit, I’m not as familiar with the Maryland bills as I’d like to be and I haven’t been able to find out quite what happened.

Especially since, as the NRA points out, those two weren’t the only bills to die. It seems several anti-gun measures failed in a similar vein. It’s interesting just how many.

So, again, what happened?

I’m not about to explain it because I’m looking for explanations myself.

What I do know is that a number of bad bills from a gun rights perspective languished and fizzled rather than being passed by the legislature. Regardless of why they failed, it’s a significant win. Maryland isn’t a state we expect a lot of pro-gun victories out of, so let’s enjoy this one.

But we also need to conduct something of a post-mortem to see just what went right. It’s important to understand what Maryland gun rights activists did this time that they didn’t do before to block the radical anti-gun agenda in the state.

Once we know that, we can replicate it. Activists in other anti-gun states can see what happened and try it in their states, perhaps turning the tide throughout the entire nation.

After all, for the last year, we gun rights advocates have had our backs against the wall. We’ve been hammered and smashed all over the country. We’ve been accused of supporting mass murderers, and those are some of the nicer things said about us. We need wins, and we need them badly.

What happened in Maryland? That’s a win — a big one.

Now, let’s do it again.