Mar 21 2014

Maryland Takes Aim at Gun Confiscation

Seized guns

A new bill introduced by the Maryland state legislature would have have the state join the ranks of Connecticut, New York, Illinois, and California in threatening – and enacting – gun confiscation. But remember, no one is coming to take your guns.

Del. Luiz Simmons (D-Montgomery) introduced HB0623 back on January 30th, though it has not gotten a lot of media attention. The bill is very similar to the California confiscation law, in that it would require the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to integrate the Criminal Justice Information System with the Maryland Automated Firearms System. The MAFS is an automated database with records of all handgun purchases and transfers in the state. The integration seeks to compare records of firearms bought before October 1, 2013, and criminal records. The bill would require police to cross-reference the databases at least twice a year, and promptly confiscate the firearms of any individuals who have a record.

October 1, 2013, was when the state enacted the Firearm Safety Act of 2013. The act included an assault weapons ban, limits on magazine capacity (10 rounds as opposed to 20 or more), and a new licensing requirement for all handgun purchases. It also introduced a list of banned handguns.

The new bill is expected to identify approximately 110,000 Maryland residents slated for gun confiscation.

Simmons says the bill is necessary in order to help law enforcement take guns away from criminals. However, Del. Mike Smigiel (R) is concerned that the bill will turn law-abiding people into criminals. He states that the bill “would take things that, 20 year ago or 30 years ago, would not be considered to be… associated with having a loss of your Second Amendment rights…then take the current day and say that you had a misdemeanor, a fight in a bar…that you shouldn’t own a firearm. Yet, for the last 20 years you’ve had the ability to purchase and own a gun.” He states the bill would also take away probation before judgement, but only in cases related to firearms.

Instead, Smigiel suggests strengthening mental health services and giving those who commit gun-related crimes more severe punishment. However, this would also mean anyone convicted of a gun-related crime – regardless of violence or intent – could not get their sentences reduced for good time.

Simmons’ bill is expected to cost the state over $300,000 for creation of the database, and $1 million to run each year after that. The bill is currently still under debate.

1 comment

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