Supporters and opponents discuss Md. gun bill

Delegate Luiz Simmons, D-Montgomery, who ultimately supported the bill, noted during a voting session last week that it will take a generation for the assault weapons ban to have an effect, as he tried unsuccessfully to eliminate a provision that allows people to keep the banned assault weapons if they are ordered before the ban takes effect in October.

Greg Shipley, a spokesman for the Maryland State Police, said what was once a seven-day waiting period to process an incoming purchase application for regulated firearms now takes about seven weeks, because requests have jumped by thousands. Shipley said the biggest increase in recent months was from November to December, when requests went from 7,247 to 11,560.

“The number is unprecedented,” Shipley said. “The Maryland State Police has conducted background investigations for firearms at least since the early 1970s. Never in our history have we seen these types of purchase numbers.”

Supporters of the measure cite polls saying a strong majority of Maryland residents support the bill.

Erin Gormley, Mid-Atlantic regional manager for the organization Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, said the group with 80 chapters in 38 states will be working to call attention to the Maryland law.

“It’s a huge, tremendous step forward in preventing gun violence, protecting our children, our communities — urban, rural and suburban alike — and moms across the country are going to continue to work to enact similar live saving laws, like the fingerprint licensing of handgun purchasers in other states,” Gormley said.

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