ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Braving the elements, volunteers with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and a member of the Everytown Survivor Network, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, testified late Tuesday in favor of a pair of gun safety bills at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee in Annapolis. They urged committee members to pass House Bills 1448 and 1424.
House Bill 1448 would extend Maryland’s criminal background check law to cover all gun sales, closing the loophole that allows dangerous people to buy rifles and shotguns with no background check and no questions asked. HB 1424, meanwhile, seeks to implement a clear process for convicted abusers to surrender their firearms. Although current law prohibits convicted abusers from purchasing and possessing guns, it does not require that convicted abusers turn in the guns they already own.
“The fact is that no one wants to see another Virginia Tech, or to see 93 Americans die a day from gun violence,” said Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting and a member of the Everytown Survivor Network.
“Currently, under Maryland law, there is a loophole that makes it far too easy for dangerous people to buy rifles and shotguns from unlicensed sellers, with no background check required and no questions asked. We can help to prevent it by taking steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”
“Shotguns and rifles are just as deadly as handguns,” said Mary McCullough, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action and a veteran who lives in Carroll County. “Handguns require background checks. Why wouldn’t we require the same of long guns? Long guns are more than just for hunting. The Columbia Mall shooter in 2014 and Korryn Gaines, who threatened police during a standoff and was subsequently shot and killed by the police, both legally owned a 12 gauge Mossberg. They were not going hunting.”
“In a domestic violence situation where a gun is present, we know a woman is five times more likely to be killed,” said Danielle Veith the volunteer chapter leader with the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action. “State law already requires domestic abusers to turn in their guns once a protective order is in place – and courts inform them that they must do so. But the law does not require those convicted domestic abusers to turn in the guns they already own, meaning that an abuser can go directly home from court, and use the guns he has at home to harm an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend. Maryland’s legislature should close this gap.”
Don Singleton, a hunter who lives in Mardela Springs, also testified in favor of closing the background check loophole. Representatives from Everytown and Moms Demand Action also read testimony on behalf of volunteers who were unable to attend the hearing due to the inclement weather.