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Maryland General Assembly Chooses to Punish Licensed Firearm Dealers Rather Than Criminals

Urge Governor Larry Hogan to Veto HB 1021

In a disgraceful display of heavy-handed politics, the Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation that will require Maryland's licensed firearm dealers to secure their businesses and store their firearms with a "one-size-fits-all" mandate. House Bill 1021, authored by Maryland's Speaker of the House, Adrienne Jones, will require all Maryland licensed firearm dealers, including retailers with a storefront location as well as those working from a residence, gunsmiths, manufacturers and distributors, to make costly, burdensome and potentially impossible changes to their businesses. Those businesses not complying will face fines, suspensions of licenses, and even revocation of licenses. Licensed dealers will only have about six months to comply with the requirements if the bill is signed into law. NSSF remained staunchly opposed to HB 1021 as it moved through the legislative process. 
While HB 1021 took several weeks to pass the House of Delegates, the process was sped up as the bill passed the entire legislative process in the Senate in just over 24 hours. The bill was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee just over an hour before the hearing was to actually take place on Wednesday, March 30, leaving opponents of the bill with no time to sign up to speak during the committee hearing to voice concerns or objections. Following the hearing, NSSF met with committee staff and was told the Senate committee would accept amendments. Our amendments were reasonable and would have been workable without doing harm to the bill. As NSSF was working with committee staff to make changes to the bill, the bill was scheduled for a vote with no advance warning or published on a voting list and voted out of committee on a party line vote the following morning, March 31 around 9:30 a.m.), after the hearing. This voting session was cut short, removing any possibility for members of the committee to continue asking questions about the impacts of the bill or make any changes to the bill. 
HB 1021 was then rushed to the floor of the Maryland Senate on the same day it passed out of committee, just 24 hours after the committee hearing. Allies of gun owners and the firearm industry went to work having amendments crafted for the bill. These amendments included moving the October 2022 effective date back to 2023, preemption, more options for licensed dealers to comply with the law, and more. Of note, one amendment offered would've held criminals responsible for breaking into a firearm dealer and stealing firearms by placing a five-year mandatory minimum sentence on anyone convicted. However, a majority of members of the Senate had no interest in holding these criminals accountable. Following the bill's "second reading" on the floor, the rules were suspended so the bill could be placed on "third reading" on the same day and ultimately passed. 
The process that took place in the Maryland Senate is a slap in the face to the hard-working business owners who lawfully engage in the commerce of firearms. NSSF fought this bill on behalf of its members along the way, experienced elected officials going back on their word, and we worked to ease the burden on law-abiding businesses. Make no doubts about it, NSSF, as your trade association, will continue to work on this issue as it heads to Gov. Larry Hogan for his consideration.

Read Full Language of HB 1021

Stand with NSSF and begin contacting Gov. Hogan and respectfully urge him to VETO this one-size-fits-all mandate on Maryland's licensed firearm dealers. 
Gov. Hogan Contact Information
100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 974-3901

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