ANNAPOLIS — Maryland lawmakers will push for gun control bills that aim to ensure background checks for private long gun sales and strengthen the process through which convicted domestic abusers surrender firearms.
The pair of soon-to-be-introduced bills will join more than a dozen gun-related bills already filed in Annapolis this year.
Last year, lawmakers considered about 80 gun bills during the 90-day legislative session, including measures similar to those bills touted on Tuesday.
One Frederick County resident who attended rallies both last year and this year said support is growing for changes to Maryland’s gun control laws and she thinks the measures will garner more support this year.
“I think we have a greater chance. More people are engaged,” said Terri Mawdsley, leader of the Frederick County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
She came to Tuesday’s rally with seven others from Frederick County and said the gathering — of more than 100 supporters — was much larger than last year’s.
The two bills are supported by Moms Demand Action and its parent organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country.
Sen. William C. Smith Jr., D-Montgomery, will sponsor both bills in the Senate.
The so-called “Long Gun Loophole Bill” would apply the same standards for background checks to rifles and shotguns that apply to handguns. For years, Maryland has required criminal background checks for all sales and transfers of handguns, but individuals can buy rifles and shotguns from unlicensed sellers. The bill is cosponsored by Delegate Dereck E. Davis, D-Prince George’s, in the House.
The second proposed bill would put in place a process to ensure that convicted abusers turn in their guns.
Maryland and federal law have prohibited firearm possession by criminals convicted of certain domestic violent crimes and abusers who have final protective orders against them, but a gap in enforcing the prohibition remains without a legally defined process in place, advocates said. Currently, people who were just convicted in a Maryland court could leave a courthouse, retrieve guns they already own, and use them to do harm, the advocates said.
The bill will be introduced in the house by Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, D-Howard.
Robin Becker-Cornblatt, of Frederick, attended Tuesday’s rally to support the measures.
“All guns should be regulated — for safety of the community of our children,” Becker-Cornblatt said. “As a mom, I want to make sure our voices are heard. The voices of the gun lobby are always heard, and I want to make sure that ... we are able to mobilize and make sure we have gun control laws.”