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Maryland Moms Demand Action, Everytown Applaud Senate Committee for Advancing Background Check Legislation

Newly Released Research Shows That States Requiring Background Checks on All Gun Sales See 15 Percent Lower Homicide Rates Than Those That Do Not

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement praising the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, for advancing HB 786, a bill that would close a dangerous loophole in state law and require background checks on all sales of rifles and shotguns in Maryland.

“I am thankful to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and Senator Susan Lee for passing this lifesaving legislation,” said Jan Donohoe McNamara, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, whose brother-in-law, John McNamara, was killed along with four other staff members of the Capital Gazette newspaper in June 2018. “I urge the conference committee to send the strongest bill possible to the Governor’s desk. This legislation will help keep Maryland families safe from gun violence.”

Under current Maryland law, sales of rifles and shotguns by unlicensed sellers do not require a background check. That makes it easy for convicted felons, domestic abusers and other people who are legally prohibited from having guns to purchase these deadly weapons by finding unlicensed sellers through sales arranged online or at gun shows. Maryland already requires background checks on all handgun sales.

New research in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, authored by Dr. Michael Siegel and others at the Boston University School of Public Health found that states that require a background check on all gun sales had homicide rates 15 percent lower than states without them. The Boston University study’s results underscore that keeping guns out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves or others — through policies like requiring background checks on all gun sales — is an effective way to curb gun violence.

Key findings include:

  • States with laws requiring background checks for all gun sales – by point-of-sale check and/or permit – were associated with 15 percent lower homicides rates.
  • Laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by people who have been convicted of a violent misdemeanor crime were associated with an 18 percent reduction in state homicide rates.
  • Laws requiring law enforcement to grant concealed carry permits in certain circumstances were associated with a 9 percent increase in homicide rates.

Under current federal law, background checks are required only for gun sales by licensed firearm dealers. No background check is required for sales by unlicensed sellers. This means that an unlicensed seller can sell a gun to a stranger they meet online or at gun shows – with no background check, no questions asked.