Maryland’s alright stringent gun laws could get even more exacting if the State Senate hears a bill that has already passed the Democratic-controlled House and then comes in front of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. The bill would ban guns from state colleges and universities and is one of three gun-control measures that law makers will vote on in the near future.
Bill moves to the Maryland Senate
In addition to the bill to ban guns from state universities, another bill would make it illegal for the state to issue gun permits to anyone on the FBI’s terrorist watch list while another bill would force domestic abusers and felons to hand over their guns within 48 hours of their convictions. Following that, felons and abusers have three days to confirm that they had complied with the order.
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While each may sound reasonable, the failure to issue permits to those on the FBI’s watch list could violate due process rights as the FBI can simply put your name on the list without any danger of the individual being able to argue or protest their innocence and be taken off the list.
So far, Republican Governor Larry Hogan has not publicly spoken about whether he would sign the legislation if each of the bills were to pass through both the Maryland House and Senate. Hogan was endorsed by the NRA when he ran for governor so he’s in a bit of a sticky position. While the governor has said nothing specific, his spokesman Doug Mayer has said that Hogan has “no intention of altering existing gun laws.”
“Overall, the governor believes we should make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain guns and make it easier for law-abiding citizens,” Mayer added.
Maryland governor promised gun leniency
In 2014, The Washington Post ran as story that said that Hogan made it clear to gun rights advocates that he would make it easier to obtain a concealed-weapons permit as well as appointing a state police superintendent sympathetic to the rights of gun owners. To date, Hogan has done neither.
Presently, individual universities are allowed to have their own weapons policies as long as they were not in violation with existing state laws. If this bill passes the Senate and signed into law, it would make it illegal for anyone to have a gun on campus outside of law enforcement. Republicans in the house attempted to add 11 separate amendments to the bill all of which were voted down on the floor.
Another bill that could be voted on soon, would effectively see Maryland unwilling to recognize other states’ permits and would make it a crime to drive through Maryland with a gun even for a few minutes. Thomas Hood testified recently that he legally carries a gun in Virginia where he lives and Pennsylvania where he drives to visit family nearly each week.
“It’s crazy that Maryland doesn’t have that,” Hood said. “My Virginia permit reciprocates to Pennsylvania, but when I drive up Interstate 81, even for just those seven miles, I could be arrested if I don’t pull over my car and secure and unload my firearm first.”
Baltimore has a notoriously high murder rate and its Police Commissioner is a fan of any legislation that would increase the penalties for illegally carrying a weapon.
“Going after criminals with guns is central to the crime fight in Baltimore,” said Baltimore Police Commisssion, Kevin Brown. “Carrying a gun can turn an argument into a homicide at the drop of a dime.”