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Old December 21st, 2012, 06:28 AM #1
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A Note on Reading Proposed Legislation

Folks,

We've already had a classic example of how those not being accustomed to reading bills for proposed legislation can misinterpret things and create a panic at worst, or at least a waste of concern at best.

The example I'm going to use is HB35.

It showed up yesterday and some folks with all good intentions started calling it a new ban on transporting handguns.

The truth is that everything in that bill, with the exception of line 25 is already existing law as shown here:
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Old December 21st, 2012, 06:30 AM #2
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If you compare the existing code to the proposed legislation, you'll see some text in BOLD which shows the new language being inserted.

You'll also notice some brackets that are bolded that indicate the shifting around of headers.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 06:34 AM #3
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The trick with correctly reading Maryland code and proposed legislation is that you have to know where you already "are" in the code in the larger sense before you can understand what you are reading in front of you.

You must place yourself in the context of the larger article, because there are always definitions and exceptions for nearly every law.

A perfect example is once again HB35. If you presume that what you see there is "the law", yes it looks very ominous.

However, the bill stops where it does because it does not affect any of the articles that follow it, which is where all of the current exceptions for gun owners to transport their handguns exist.

Note here the exceptions which follow the above articles:


Quote:
(2) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a person to whom a permit to wear, carry, or transport the handgun has been issued under Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the Public Safety Article;

(3) the carrying of a handgun on the person or in a vehicle while the person is transporting the handgun to or from the place of legal purchase or sale, or to or from a bona fide repair shop, or between bona fide residences of the person, or between the bona fide residence and place of business of the person, if the business is operated and owned substantially by the person if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster;

(4) the wearing, carrying, or transporting by a person of a handgun used in connection with an organized military activity, a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, a Department of Natural Resources-sponsored firearms and hunter safety class, trapping, or a dog obedience training class or show, while the person is engaged in, on the way to, or returning from that activity if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster;

(5) the moving by a bona fide gun collector of part or all of the collector's gun collection from place to place for public or private exhibition if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster;

(6) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a person on real estate that the person owns or leases or where the person resides or within the confines of a business establishment that the person owns or leases;

(7) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a supervisory employee:
(i) in the course of employment;

(ii) within the confines of the business establishment in which the supervisory employee is employed; and

(iii) when so authorized by the owner or manager of the business establishment;
(8) the carrying or transporting of a signal pistol or other visual distress signal approved by the United States Coast Guard in a vessel on the waterways of the State or, if the signal pistol or other visual distress signal is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case, in a vehicle; or

(9) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a person who is carrying a court order requiring the surrender of the handgun, if:
(i) the handgun is unloaded;

(ii) the person has notified the law enforcement unit, barracks, or station that the handgun is being transported in accordance with the court order; and

(iii) the person transports the handgun directly to the law enforcement unit, barracks, or station.

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Old December 21st, 2012, 06:37 AM #4
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As you can see, using this one example, HB35 is a bill that is a procedural updating of some language and is absolutely a neutral for gun owners.

In short, your attention to proposed legislation is of the upmost importance, yes and represents everything this community is about.

However, if you aren't as well-versed at navigating the double speak of MD Code yet as some of us, hang on before we get too far down a hall of mirrors of discussions that aren't productive and take time away from truly urgent matters.

We've grown immensely in the last year and we have a lot of members who are new to the legislative process. We'll educate you to the process, but let's make sure we're all on the same page before we let the likelihood of really bad legislation scare us into believing that every bill is "the one".
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Old December 21st, 2012, 07:11 AM #5
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Thanks for the lesson

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Old December 21st, 2012, 08:04 AM #6
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Thanks for the lesson Norton.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 08:15 AM #7
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Nice, got some education here!
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Old December 21st, 2012, 09:01 AM #8
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Thank you. Good explanations.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 09:03 AM #9
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This is great info. Thanks.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 09:11 AM #10
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Norton, as always, thanks.
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