MSI Update on the MD General Assembly gun bills

To Arlington Rifle and Pistol Club,

I have attached a summary from MSI on the gun related bills going through the MD General Asylum, oops maybe I should say Assembly. They are really sticking it to gun owners this year. We need your help.

Please check out this summary of what is going on at the MD General Assembly for gun bill legislation. If you have not done so already (and even if you have), it is urgent that folks contact their House of Delegates and Senate representatives about these bills. Our position and testimony on these and other bills can be found at our Website (https://www.marylandshallissue.org/jmain/legislation-tracker/142-2018-maryland-gun-legislation-tracker?utm_source=Main+Membership+List&utm_campaign=b2c001ea64-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51231bbc70-b2c001ea64-65646617) . The identity and contact information for your representatives can be found here, by entering your address and zip code. Don’t delay. Time grows short. In the meantime, we need your support! We are all volunteers at MSI. We do this work on behalf of our members and everyone else in our community because we believe in this cause.

Maryland Shall Issue
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It must be an election year because the gun control zealots are at it again in the Maryland General Assembly. Senator Madaleno (District 18, Montgomery County) thinks he can win the governorship by campaigning against the Handgun Permit Review Board. He’s gotten pretty far in that vendetta against the Board. While his Senate bill (SB 741) to abolish the Board has gone nowhere in the Senate, the House of Delegates has taken up this cause and passed yesterday the cross-filed bill, (HB 819). That bill will now cross over to the Senate and be heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The membership of that Committee can be found here (http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=cmtepage&stab=04&id=jpr&tab=subject7&ys=2018RS&utm_source=Main+Membership+List&utm_campaign=b2c001ea64-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51231bbc70-b2c001ea64-65646617) . Time to let those members know how you feel about it. Please note that one very pro-Second Amendment Senator, Wayne Norman, passed away suddenly last week. His wife has been appointed by Governor Hogan to serve out the remainder of
his term. Please convey your respects to his Office in any communications.

And that’s not all. The so-called "bump stock" bill, (HB 888) was reported out favorably by the House Judiciary Committee with amendments. Using sweeping language, the bill bans possession and transport into Maryland all "rapid-fire trigger activators" which the bill defines as a bump stock, a trigger crank, a hellfire trigger, a binary trigger system or any "device" that increases the rate at which the trigger is pulled or which increases the rate of fire, no matter how insignificant the increase. This bill has already passed the House today (3/15/18). Once again, that bill now passes over to the Senate to be considered by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

The fix was in on that bill in the House, but our allies in the House were able to persuade the House Judiciary Committee to add some amendments. One such amendment would make clear that the term "rapid fire trigger activator" does not include a "semi-automatic replacement trigger that improves the performance and functional over the stock trigger." Folks with Geissele replacement triggers are thus probably safe (for now). The Committee also added an amendment that would exempt from the ban on possession any "rapid-fire trigger activator" which was possessed prior to October 1, 2018 and for which the owner had applied for a license under the National Firearms Act of 1934 from the ATF for the device prior to that time and who received such a license by October 1, 2019. Apparently, this NFA license language anticipates that the ATF will, by rule, make such "devices" a machine gun part prior to October 1, 2018. That has not happened yet, but it is clearly in the works.
Whether that designation by the ATF will be sustained in the courts is a different question. Meanwhile, the cross-filed bill in the Senate, SB 707, was just reported out by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee today (3/15). We don’t have the text of those amendments yet, but you can find them here (http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&stab=02&id=sb0707&tab=subject3&ys=2018RS&utm_source=Main+Membership+List&utm_campaign=b2c001ea64-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51231bbc70-b2c001ea64-65646617) when they are posted, probably by tomorrow, 3/16. In short, there is no doubt that a bump stock bill will become law this year. The only thing the least bit up in the air is the text of language that will become law in Maryland.

And there is still more. The "red flag" bill in the House, (HB 1302) has already passed the second reader in the House of Delegates and is well on its way to passage by the House. We expect that passage either this week or by COB Monday, which is crossover day. This bill authorizes "any person" to seek an "extreme risk prevention order" simply by filing a petition with a court alleging that another person poses "an immediate and pressing danger" to himself, the petitioner or any other person "by possessing a firearm." It empowers a court to issue an immediate interim order barring possession of a firearm and directs the person to surrender any firearms to a law enforcement agency for the duration of the order. Unless continued for "good cause," the court is directed to hold a hearing on the order within the first or second day after issuance of the interim order. After that hearing, which can be "ex parte or otherwise," the bill provides that a judge may enter a
"temporary" order that is effective for not more than 7 days but may be extended by a judge for up to 6 months. The bill finally accords the person a right to be heard at a hearing to be held not later than 7 days after service of the temporary order. A final order can be effective for 1 year unless extended for an additional 6 months by the court. A final order may issue barring the person from any possession of a firearm for the duration of the order if the judge finds by "clear and convincing evidence" that there are "reasonable grounds" for believing that the person poses an immediate and present danger to himself or others by possessing a firearm. As you can see, this bill is rife with risk for firearm owners, especially since it allows "any person" to petition a court for these "prevention" orders. Indeed, the bill provides that the petitioner seeking such an order in "good faith" is immune from criminal or civil liability. The person subject to such an order (the
"respondent") will have to "lawyer up." Again, we expect the House to pass this bill shortly. After passage in the House, it will pass over to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Meanwhile, all the pro-Second Amendment bills have gone nowhere in both the Senate and the House. The sole exception is that the Senate passed SB 27, on a vote of 44-1, January 30, 2018. That bill would allow an applicant for a wear and carry permit to delay obtaining the required training until he or she has received "preliminary" approval of the application by the State Police. That person would then have 120 days to obtain the training. No permit would issue until the training was complete. The sole "nay" vote was cast by Senator Ramirez, of District 47 in PG County. Apparently, Senator Ramirez doesn’t mind being the sole, irrational holdout against this extremely reasonable modification of Maryland’s carry permit law. That speaks volumes. If you are a constituent (and even if you are not) please feel free to share your thoughts (civilly) with Senator Ramirez. The sponsor of SB 27, Senator Hough of Frederick County, will present this bill to the House Judiciary
Committee on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Last year, that Committee and the House passed the same bill, then sponsored by Delegate Deb Rey (St. Mary’s County). Del. Rey submitted the same bill this year, but the House Judiciary Committee has not acted on it. We hope that the House will accept the Senate’s bill, but that is not a safe bet in this election year. Our thanks to both Senator Hough and Del. Rey and the other backers of this bill!

If you have not done so already (and even if you have), it is urgent that folks contact their House of Delegates and Senate representatives about these bills. Our position and testimony on these and other bills can be found at our Website (https://www.marylandshallissue.org/jmain/legislation-tracker/142-2018-maryland-gun-legislation-tracker?utm_source=Main+Membership+List&utm_campaign=b2c001ea64-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_03_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51231bbc70-b2c001ea64-65646617) . The identity and contact information for your representatives can be found here, by entering your address and zip code. Don’t delay. Time grows short. In the meantime, we need your support! We are all volunteers at MSI. We do this work on behalf of our members and everyone else in our community because we believe in this cause.

Mark W. Pennak, President, MSI.
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