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Old April 3rd, 2013, 04:49 PM #1
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SB 281: A summary of some key provisions of the final bill

PLEASE NOTE -- THIS THREAD IS NOW CLOSED BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY MY UPDATED SUMMARY, POSTED IN A NEW THREAD HERE. PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS IN THE NEW THREAD, NOT HERE.



THIS SUMMARY DESCRIBES S.B. 281, THE GOVERNOR'S GUN CONTROL BILL, IN THE FORM APPROVED BY THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES ON APRIL 3 AND ACCEPTED WITHOUT ANY CHANGES BY THE SENATE ON APRIL 4. IT NOW GOES TO THE GOVERNOR FOR HIS SIGNATURE.

Here is a non-lawyer summary of some of the most interesting provisions of SB 281 that passed both houses of the Maryland General Assembly. This is not a comprehensive summary of the thick bill. I have skipped some provisions that may be of interest to certain groups, including the provisions beefing up state authority to monitor and issue sanctions against licensed firearms dealers. There may be some mistakes here -- if so, I'll correct them as they are pointed out. However, if you see something that doesn't agree with what you read elsewhere, don't assume it is a mistake -- there are a lot of commentaries circulating by people who have not read the actual legislation. A final, integrated version of the bill is not yet available to us, so this is based on reference to the bill reported out by the joint House committee and to the individual printed amendments that were adopted on the House floor.

The numbering system below is arbitrary and used only for the purpose of making discussion more convenient; it does not correspond to the order that provisions appear in the bill. IF YOU POST A COMMENT BELOW, PLEASE DON'T QUOTE THIS ENTIRE ANALYSIS -- JUST QUOTE THE NUMBERED PARAGRAPH THAT YOU WANT TO COMMENT ON.

Here it is:

1. Future purchase of a regulated firearm, which from now on means a handgun (because currently regulated long guns are going to become banned long guns), would require a "handgun qualification license." (The handgun license is not required for an active or retired member of the armed forces of the United States or the National Guard, for active or retired law enforcement officers, or to purchase any handgun defined in federal law as an antique, or curio or relic). One must be age 21 to apply for the license. To obtain the license requires fingerprinting, a $50 fee paid to the state, and proof of satisfactory completion of either "a firearms safety training course approved by the Secretary [of the Maryland State Police]," which must be at least 4 hours long and cover certain specified subjects, or else a course approved by the DNR under existing law, which refers to the DNR hunter certification course. There are certain exceptions to the training requirement, including an exception for anyone who "lawfully owns a regulated firearm" -- these people still need the handgun qualification license, but would not be subject to the training requirement. There are certain specifications for the training course, including the 4-hour requirement and a requirement that it include "an orientation component that demonstrates the person's safe operation and handling of a firearm." I see no provision that would allow a person to inherit handguns unless he or she first obtains the handgun qualification license -- I may be mistaken about this, and if I am, I would be interested in an explanation of how an unlicensed heir could lawfully take possession of handguns.

2. New acquisition of any firearm defined as an "assault long gun" would be banned as of October 1, 2013, with narrow exceptions for law enforcement, manufacturers, certain defense contractors and the like. The ban would extend to all of the 45 named models of rifles previously listed as regulated rifles in the Public Safety Article, including (as I read it) any long guns deemed to be "copies" of the named models by past or future interpretation. In addition, the bill would ban future acquisition of any so-called "copycat" firearms. Please note: do not confuse "copy" (see above) and "copycat." In this bill, the two terms mean two completely different things. "Copycat" does not mean that a firearm is really a copy of anything -- it is just a political gimmick term to refer to firearms that have the specific characteristics that will cause them to be banned.

3. A centerfire rifle will be a banned "copycat" if it meets any one of these three tests:
(1) Has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds; or
(2) has an overall length of less than 29 inches; or
(3) has two of the following attributes: (i) folding stock, (ii) grenade or flare launcher, or (iii) flash suppressor.

4. A semiautomatic RIMFIRE rifle will never be an "assault" weapon under this bill.

5. A semiautomatic pistol will be a banned as an assault/copycat weapon only if it has a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds; this applies to both rimfire and centerfire.

6. A semiautomatic shotgun will be banned as an assault/copycat weapon if it has either a folding stock or a revolving cylinder.

7. "Assault" weapons and "copycat" firearms possessed as of October 1, 2013, will be grandfathered in, with no registration requirement, for both current Maryland residents and people who move to Maryland in the future. Their lawful owners may continue to possess them and to transport them. This would also apply to any such firearm for which the would-be owner "has a purchase order for. or completed an application to purchase" as of October 1, 2013" (note: that phrase was inserted on the floor on April 3, in place of the earlier phrase referring to a "verifiable purchase order"). However, a resident of another state who lawfully acquires such a weapon after October 1, 2013, and who then moves into the state with it, would commit an offense. (It would be a crime even to bring such a non-grandfathered rifle into the state for a shooting competition, although just driving across the state with an ultimate destination in another state, with the gun unloaded and cased separately from ammo, would in theory be protected by a federal law, §18 U.S.C. 926.) Grandfathered assault weapons may be passed on by inheritance. A dealer may sell an "assault long gun" or "copycat" that he "lawfully possessed on or before October 1, 2013." It is not clear to me whether this means the dealer can sell this inventory to Maryland residents; I think the more likely reading is that the dealer may only sell them to residents of other states, subject to the usual federal transfer requirements, or to in-state law enforcement buyers.

8. Anyone who moves into the state would be required to register "all regulated firearms" with 90 days after establishing residency. This would apply to all handguns, except muzzleloaders and antiques (pre-1899), no matter when or where they were acquired. I suppose it will also be applied to any "assault" rifle that was lawfully possessed by the new resident prior to October 1, 2013, although that is not perfectly clear. There will be a $15 application charge, which will cover any number of handguns/regulated firearms. It appears to me that criminal penalties would apply for failure to register a handgun within 90 days, but I would appreciate some lawyer well versed in the criminal code looking at that question. If I am right, a new resident might find grandpa's old service revolver in a trunk in a few years, take it down to the local gun shop to sell it, and end up arrested for failure to register the handgun within 90 days of establishing residency.

9. Like the bill passed by the Senate, I see nothing here to allow a person who lacks the handgun qualification license to temporarily "receive" handgun to shoot on the premises of a range, under the supervision of a parent or spouse, or whatever. Some people point to language in the bill dealing with the temporary possession of regulated handguns by minors, but this is merely the current language of the old regulated firearm law, which is reproduced in the bill because of the legislature's convention in showing where new provisions are being inserted. In my opinion, the old provision allowing temporary possession by a minor under certain circumstances does not clearly constitute an exception to the proposed new requirement that nobody can "receive" a handgun without first obtaining the handgun qualification license -- and a person under age 21 cannot even apply for that license. Even if I am wrong about the minors, there is no exception for unlicensed spouses, guests from out of state, people who want to try out a handgun at a rent-a-gun range, and so forth. I know that some people insist that this is not the intent. Maybe not -- but explicit language would make that clear, and the sponsors did not add any such language that I can see. While I may have misunderstood her, at one point during the House floor debate, I thought I heard Delegate Kathleen Dumais (D-Montgomery), the floor leader for the bill, dismiss such concerns on grounds that prosecutors can be relied on to exercise "discretion."

10. Future transfers within Maryland of detachable magazines with capacity of greater than 10 rounds are banned. This is true whether or not the magazine is the manufacturer's standard issue for a certain pistol, and it applies to magazines that are associated with old guns. It would be an offense to even offer such a magazine for sale in Maryland. This law applies in Maryland. It does not ban possession of magazines that are lawfully owned or lawfully purchased.

11. As in the bill passed by the Senate, those who qualify for Maryland carry permits will required to undergo 16 hours of instruction before a permit is issued, and 8 hours before each renewal (i.e., every two or three years), with certain exceptions. The bill would change current law so that permit holders could be criminally charged for carrying outside the bounds of any permit restrictions, in contrast to current law under which carrying outside of restrictions is dealt with administratively (for example, by revocation of the permit).

12. Provisions in the Senate-passed bill removing all firearms rights from persons targeted by out-of-state "protective" orders have been retained, without any language requiring that that the targeted person have an opportunity to receive notice and defend himself in court before the disqualification is applied. There is no language in the bill limiting the scope of this provision to domestic partners, although some say that is the intent.

13. Provisions removing all firearms rights from persons who are protected by court-appointed guardians (either guardians of the person, or guardians-of-property for non-minors) have been retained, without any language requiring a finding of danger to oneself or others, and without any exceptions for temporary possession for participation in shooting sports and the like. The only exception is guardianships based purely on a "physical" disability.

14. The bill would make it a new crime to "during and in relation to a crime of violence . . . possess or use restricted firearm ammunition." The House committee adopted an entirely new definition of what constitutes "restricted firearms ammunition," and I do not have the technical competence to interpret it. I underscore that this is not a ban on sale or possession, but on use in relation to a crime of violence.

15. The committee-reported bill contains the Simmons Amendment, which would disqualify from firearms ownership those persons who received Probation Before Judgment for certain crimes that are listed in the amendment. As amended on the floor, this would not apply to PBJs that are expunged. The Simmons Amendment is discussed in detail in a separate thread, in which I have reproduced the entire provision verbatim, here:
http://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=113930

16. The House committees added a new provision that requires that a regulated firearms owner "shall report the loss or theft to the local law enforcement agency within 72 hours after the owner first discovered the loss or theft." This will apply to handguns and pre-ban "assault" weapons, not "regular" rifle guns and long guns. Anyone who "knowingly and willfully violates" this requirement is subject to a $500 fine on the first offense, and to 90 days and/or a $500 fine on any subsequent offense. The provision provides no new penalties for the individuals who actually steal the guns.

17. The House committees added a new provision establishing that state records of firearms transfers, carry permits, etc., are not generally subject to public inspection, except by the person named in the records or his attorney.

18. The bill imposes blanket firearms disqualifications on various broad new classes of persons. By "blanket firearms disqualification," I mean a prohibition on acquisition or possession of any type of handgun or long gun, except those defined in state law as antiques, or any type of ammunition. These include: (a) people who "suffer from a mental disorder as defined in §10-101(F)(2) of the Health-General Article and have a history of violent behavior against the firearm applicant or another." (b) Anyone "found incompetent to stand trial under §3-106 of the Criminal Procedure Article." (c) Anyone "found not criminally responsible under §3-110 of the Criminal Procedure Article." (d) Anyone who has ever "been voluntarily admitted for more than 30 consecutive days to a facility as defined in §10-101 of the Health-General Article." (e) Anyone who has ever "been involuntarily committed to a facility as defined in §10-101 of the Health-General Article," for any length of time. (f) Anyone for whom a guardian has been appointed under either §13-201(C) (guardianship of property for adults) or §13-705 (guardianship of the person) of the Estates and Trust Article, "except for cases in which the appointment of a guardian is solely the result of a physical disability." (g) Anyone against whom a protective order has been issued by a Maryland court or a court in any other state (see paragraph no. 12 above). (f) Anyone who has received a Probation Before Judgment for certain enumerated crimes, unless it has been expunged -- this is the Simmons Amendment, described in paragraph no. 15 above, and in much greater detail here. Anyone who is disqualified under the mental health or guardianship provisions may apply to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for "relief," meaning partial or complete restoration of firearms rights. Such an application must be accompanied by extensive documentation, including a statement by a psychiatrist or psychologist stating an opinion as to whether the applicant would be a danger to himself or others (these licensed professionals are granted immunity from liability for these opinions), authorization to view all medical records, "three statements . . . attesting to the applicant's reputation and character relevant to firearms ownership and possession including . . . at least two statements provided by an individual who is not related to the applicant," and so forth. The department is supposed to grant or deny the application within 60 days. If denied, the applicant has a right to request a hearing, or appeal to the circuit court. This so-called "restoration" process does not apply to disqualifications imposed by the Simmons Amendment, which can be lifted only by the legal process of expungment.

Last edited by ddeanjohnson; April 5th, 2013 at 06:20 AM. Reason: Superseded by updated summary in new thread.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:29 PM #2
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Thank you for writing this up for us! big help for all of us that have trouble understanding the language of lawyers.

#9 worries me. If it is true that we cannot take someone to a gun range and shoot a handgun without a license first, then it will be extremely hard to get people to understand and enjoy shooting.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:31 PM #3
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Originally Posted by bogus130 View Post
Thank you for writing this up for us! big help for all of us that have trouble understanding the language of lawyers.

#9 worries me. If it is true that we cannot take someone to a gun range and shoot a handgun without a license first, then it will be extremely hard to get people to understand and enjoy shooting.
I think this is intentional. Kill the interest of those that are on the fence, if they don't already hate them for whatever reason make it so cost prohibitive they won't take any more interest.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:36 PM #4
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Originally Posted by bogus130 View Post
Thank you for writing this up for us! big help for all of us that have trouble understanding the language of lawyers.

#9 worries me. If it is true that we cannot take someone to a gun range and shoot a handgun without a license first, then it will be extremely hard to get people to understand and enjoy shooting.
I have discussed this issue with various parties for weeks. Some say that the language in the bill would only apply to purchase of a handgun, not to temporary custody of a handgun in these types of situations. If that is indeed the intent, it would be very easy to explicitly say so in the bill. Yet the train is far down the track, and the language remains, at best, ambiguous.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:37 PM #5
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Basically, the house passed a version that is still significantly different than the Senate version. The Washington Post reports that the senate will probably adopt the house version. This is important, for reasons we can discuss if (when) that happens, afterwards.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:38 PM #6
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Scary that a favorite past time for many americans can be restricted so severly by a couple of politicians that don't know any better (or refuse to try). I hope people find a way around this, would be nice to be able to go to the range with some friends to introduce them to shooting without having them take some class and pay $$ before even stepping on the range.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:40 PM #7
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I thought honorably discharged veterans where exempt from the training requirement as well? Your stating only retired vets?
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:41 PM #8
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Originally Posted by stu929 View Post
I think this is intentional. Kill the interest of those that are on the fence, if they don't already hate them for whatever reason make it so cost prohibitive they won't take any more interest.
Second that!
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:45 PM #9
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Can anyone explain what is "restricted" firearm ammo?
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:46 PM #10
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I thought honorably discharged veterans where exempt from the training requirement as well? Your stating only retired vets?
Based on the amendments that were adopted on the floor, the following class of persons is exempt from the entire handgun qualification license requirement: ". . . an active or retired member of the armed forces of the United States or the National Guard." As amended on the House floor, this exemption applies only to those over age 21, and a person under age 21 may not be issued the license.

In addition, the following class of persons is exempted only from the training requirement of the handgun qualification license scheme: ". . . an honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States or the National Guard."

Last edited by ddeanjohnson; April 4th, 2013 at 06:04 AM. Reason: updated to distinguish between greater and lesser exemptions
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:48 PM #11
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Can anyone explain what is "restricted" firearm ammo?
Nobody can make much sense of it, but that provision only applies to possession or use of the "restricted" ammo "during or in relation to the commission of a crime of violence."
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:53 PM #12
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Wait. #7. Registration is NOT required for people who own what will now be considered "assault weapons"?

For example. I own a home built AK. No serial. Completely legal. This doesn't need to be registered? At all? I was under the impression that current owners would need to register their assault weapons by Jan 1 2014. What verification does that state have that I was in possession of this before Oct 1?

How do handguns fall into this? Will currently owned handguns need to be registered?
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:59 PM #13
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Para#7

Right now I live in Harford co. And shoot in PA at DELTA
I was worried that I was no longer going to be able to transport my evil black rifles and 30 round magazines over the border and BACK.
Has this part of the bill changed?
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 06:02 PM #14
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Wait. #7. Registration is NOT required for people who own what will now be considered "assault weapons"?

For example. I own a home built AK. No serial. Completely legal. This doesn't need to be registered? At all? I was under the impression that current owners would need to register their assault weapons by Jan 1 2014. What verification does that state have that I was in possession of this before Oct 1?

How do handguns fall into this? Will currently owned handguns need to be registered?
If you legally possess that particular firearm now, you can continue to possess that particular firearm after October 1, 2013. The Senate-passed bill contains a registration requirement for "assault" weapons, with a series of deadlines and fines, escalating into criminal penalties. There is no registration provision for "assault" weapons in the House-passed bill. Under either bill, you acquire a new banned weapon after October 1, 2013, you will commit a criminal offense, unless you fall into the narrow exception clauses, which is not likely.

In prosecution for such an offense, the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was acquired after the effective date of the ban, if I am not mistaken. If I owned such a firearm, I would take the reasonable precaution of documenting that I lawfully possessed it before October 1, 2013. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. It is just what I would do.

Only people who become new Maryland residents after October 1, 2013, would be required to register their handguns. This would not apply to pre-1899 handguns or to muzzleloaders.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 06:03 PM #15
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7. "Assault" weapons and "copycat" firearms possessed as of October 1, 2013, would be grandfathered in, with no registration requirement, for both current Maryland residents and people who move to Maryland in the future. Their lawful owners may continue to possess them and to transport them.

Ok, if that's true, does this mean I could take my AK or Tecked out SKS to a range with the detachable 20 rd mag and shoot it since I've owned it well before the bill passed? Also if I don't have to register it, how would they know when I got it, before or after 10/13?
Just wonder of you could clarify please?
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 06:09 PM #16
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#11 i thought the training requirements were lessend by amendment, or am i thinking of an amendment that was rejected?
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 06:10 PM #17
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Para#7. Right now I live in Harford co. And shoot in PA at DELTA. I was worried that I was no longer going to be able to transport my evil black rifles and 30 round magazines over the border and BACK. Has this part of the bill changed?
If a person lawfully possessed the firearm on October 1, 2013, or "has a purchase order for, or completed an application to purchase" it, then you may "continue to possess and transport" it, under the House-passed version of the bill. However, if a person who lived in Pennsylvania came to Maryland to shoot at a Maryland range, with an "assault" or "copycat" firearm acquired after October 1, 2013, he would commit a criminal offense.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 06:11 PM #18
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Originally Posted by 72horse View Post
7. "Assault" weapons and "copycat" firearms possessed as of October 1, 2013, would be grandfathered in, with no registration requirement, for both current Maryland residents and people who move to Maryland in the future. Their lawful owners may continue to possess them and to transport them.

Ok, if that's true, does this mean I could take my AK or Tecked out SKS to a range with the detachable 20 rd mag and shoot it since I've owned it well before the bill passed? Also if I don't have to register it, how would they know when I got it, before or after 10/13?
Just wonder of you could clarify please?
a guess would be by the date on the 77r
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 06:12 PM #19
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16 hrs of training for CCW is ridiculous. What the HELL is an instructor going to do to fill this time? I can see 8, 4 classroom and 4 live fire but 16 is nothing but a deterrent.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 06:13 PM #20
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. . . does this mean I could take my AK or Tecked out SKS to a range with the detachable 20 rd mag and shoot it since I've owned it well before the bill passed? Also if I don't have to register it, how would they know when I got it, before or after 10/13?
Just wonder of you could clarify please?
Under either bill, if you lawfully owned the firearm on October 1, 2013, you can take it to the range and shoot it. If a person acquires a new banned weapon after October 1, 2013 (unless previously ordered), he commits a criminal offense, unless he falls into the narrow exception clauses.

In prosecution for such an offense, the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was acquired after the effective date of the ban, if I am not mistaken. If I owned such a firearm, I would take the reasonable precaution of documenting that I lawfully possessed it before October 1, 2013. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. It is just what I would do.

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