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Old February 20th, 2013, 07:09 PM   #1
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Email Update from Senator Joe Getty

Update on Senate Bill 281‏

Getty, Joseph Senator

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For regular updates on the 2013 Legislative Session, sign up for the Newsletter sent out by Senator Joe Getty on his website: www.getty2010.com.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____

Senator Joe Getty

Presentation at the 2013 Legislative Breakfast

Sponsored by the Carroll County Republican Central Committee

February 23, 2013

Issues with Senate Bill 281 – Gov. O’Malley’s Gun Control Bill

The February 6 hearing in the Judicial Proceedings Committee raised numerous problems that exist in the language of Senate Bill 281. This Administration bill proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley would create new regulations on gun ownership in Maryland.

An update on the bill status will be presented by Senators David Brinkley, Allan Kittleman and Joe Getty at a Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, February 26 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will take place in Carroll County at the Best Western Westminster Hotel, 451 Best Western Drive, Westminster, Maryland.

If Senate Bill 281 is considered at voting sessions of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee later this week, the bill will be before the full Senate some time after our Town Hall Meeting next week.

The House of Delegates has a companion bill - House Bill 294 - which has a bill hearing scheduled for Friday, March 1.

For your background information, I have included a summary of issues in the bill prepared by my friend Mark Pennak, who will offer a legal and technical analysis of Gov. O'Malley's bill at the Town Hall Meeting.

Summary of Points Regarding SB 281

1. The legislation accords only 30 days to register lawfully purchased and lawfully owned rifles (so-called “assault long guns”) and then imposes severe criminal penalties for any

failure to timely register, even though the rifle may already be registered under existing state law.

* No registration is permitted after 30 days and any continued unregistered possession after that time, regardless of reason or fault, automatically converts the citizen into a criminal who may be imprisoned for up to 3 years for mere possession.

* The state penalties are sufficient to create a lifetime federal ban on possession of “any” modern firearm of any type. Knowing possession of any modern firearm after a state conviction for failure to register is a felony under federal law, punishable with a 10 year prison term.

* Yet, according to the FBI, rifles of any type are the least-used weapon of any kind in homicides. In Maryland, in 2011, “hands and feet” were used in 8 times more deaths than rifles. The ban and registration requirements do nothing to protect our children from violence.

* The so-called “assault long guns” are banned on the basis of cosmetic features and are simply semi-automatic rifles which are functionally indistinguishable from non-banned, semi-automatic rifles of the same caliber and same “lethality.”

2. The licensing requirements imposed by the legislation are a precondition to and burden on any purchase of a handgun for self-defense in the home or elsewhere.

* The burdens are unprecedented in American law, including as much as $385 in fees and costs, as well as a 8 hour training requirement and a 30-day wait to receive a license to purchase after all the requirements have been satisfied. Satisfying all these conditions and actually receiving a license from the chronically under-staffed State Police may take months in addition to the expense. These burdens are re-imposed every 5 years.

* Under either strict or intermediate scrutiny, these burdens on the right to purchase and possess a handgun for self-defense are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment principles recognized by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and made applicable to and binding on all 50 States in McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S.Ct. 3020 (2010). Maryland may no longer regard gun ownership as a mere privilege subject to the whim and caprice of state politics. As Heller stated, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”

* Because the licensing provisions heavily burden the ability of a responsible, law-abiding citizen to purchase a handgun for self-defense in the home, the provisions are subject to “strict scrutiny.” Under strict scrutiny, the provisions are not “narrowly tailored” to the State’s stated interest in controlling straw purchases. Even under “intermediate scrutiny,” the State has not made the requisite “strong showing” with real evidence that these provisions will significantly prevent additional straw purchases not otherwise deterred by existing federal and state law which already severely punishes straw purchasers with 10 year prison sentences and/or $25,000 fines.

* These provisions improperly seek to limit illegal straw purchases by suppressing legitimate sales to law-abiding citizens. The State may not constitutionally impose heavy burdens on the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right simply to deter criminals.

3. The ammunition provisions of the legislation expressly ban the possession of any ammunition of any type by any person younger than 21 who is not “under the supervision” of someone 21 or older.

* Unsupervised possession of any ammunition by a person under 21 is made a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to one year or a fine not exceeding $1000 or both.

* Even though persons 18-20 may legally buy and possess long guns and may legally purchase ammunition for long guns, under this legislation, they become criminals the moment they come into unsupervised possession of ammunition for the very guns they may legally buy and own.

* Under this legislation, minors who have earned the State hunter safety certificate may not possess any ammunition, even though existing state law allows such minors to hunt independently of adult supervision.

* The ammunition provisions thus effectively ban unsupervised hunting by all persons under 21 and unconstitutionally disarm law-abiding persons who are legally entitled to purchase, own and possess firearms.

Last edited by hogrider; February 20th, 2013 at 07:13 PM. Reason: more infor
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Old February 20th, 2013, 07:19 PM   #2
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Not a bad summary, but doesn't mention anything about mag limits. I wonder if that means it isn't being debated by the committee

Edit: Nvm, missed the part where it says it's not Gettys writing.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 07:29 PM   #3
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probably sufficient to kill the bill
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Old February 20th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #4
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