ANNAPOLIS — Sen. Ron Young planned to introduce a bill to establish a statewide gun buyback program for assault weapons this session. 

Then he saw a fiscal policy note that indicated how much it would cost the state roughly $2 million to run the program beginning in fiscal 2022.

"I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the fiscal note they put on it," Young (D-Frederick) said Wednesday.

Young has since withdrawn that bill, Senate Bill 55. It proposed an income tax checkoff through implementing an assault weapon buyback program run by the Maryland State Police. It would have allocated $50,000 annually beginning in fiscal 2022 for the fund, $10,000 of which would be used for marketing and awareness campaigns in the fund's first year.

State police argued the fund would have required more officers at barracks statewide to administer the fund, which would in part lead to more than $2 million in program costs in its first year.

Young said once he saw that fiscal note, he knew it was going to be killed in the Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee.

"I just didn’t want to go in and take time at a hearing," he said. "It was something that was going no place fast, and I just decided to withdraw it."  

The tax checkoff in Young's proposal would have been in $5 amounts — individuals could choose to reduce that amount from their refund or add it to their taxes owed to the state.

Young said he anticipated around $300,000 could have been generated in the first year, but state police estimated in the fiscal policy note that its initial costs of running the program would be around $1.9 million.

Ron Snyder, public information officer for Maryland State Police, declined to comment on Young's bill Wednesday.

Sen. Michael Hough (R-Frederick and Carroll) said he didn't believe a buyback program would have been effective, because most people sell "junk" or "inoperable guns" instead of working assault weapons.

"It's just not an effective use of state resources and time," Hough said. "Criminals aren’t going to come in and say, ‘Well, I'm going to turn this in and get money.’ They’ve just proven people turn in junk and guns people don’t want."

In order to target crime, legislators should look at illegal handguns, Hough said. 

The bill was originally scheduled for a hearing at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee before Young withdrew it. He said he's interested in bringing it back next session if there's a way to reduce the cost to state police. 

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(22) comments

petersamuel

What a deeply stupid bill! First up the Buy Back title: Government cannot 'buy back' something it didn't sell or supply in the first place, so it is not what it claims to be. Second it mostly uses taxpayer money to buy harmless guns, namely those guns which people feel they no longer need. Gun shops or eBay will do that. It's not going to get guns out of the hands of people with crime in mind, except to the extent it might help such bad persons to upgrade their armament by trading in an old gun with a new one -- partially financed by taxpayers. To that extent it would worsen gun crime. is it that our politicians don't have time to think. Or else they don't care about whether bills they promote do what they are advertised to do. Because they just want to generate a nice-sounding talking point to advertise their good intentions.

KellyAlzan

As usually, great thoughts from you,

Peter.

gabrielshorn2013

I couldn’t agree more petersamuel. This was nothing but an ill-conceived, feel-good proposal from Ron Young. The original $55K was nowhere near what was needed, as Mr. Young soon found out. As someone stated earlier, the cost of the high-end AR platform exceeds $2,000. Nobody is turning that in for a couple hundred bucks. As we all know, a functioning illegal gun would go to the highest bidder, and that means the street. Compliance with all of the "buyback" programs is also atrocious. In New Zealand, where they do not have a 2nd Amendment, the estimated compliance rate is approximately 10%. In New York under the SAFE Act, all “assault weapons” were to be registered, and 44,000 were. New Yorkers owned about 1 million "assault weapons" at the time the ban was passed. So the 44,000 that were actually registered are about 4 percent of the total. “Buyback programs” simply don’t work, and cost the taxpayers a lot of desperately needed funds.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/after-mosque-attacks-new-zealands-gun-buyback-runs-into-an-obstacle-gun-owners/2019/12/20/b4071106-208f-11ea-b034-de7dc2b5199b_story.html

https://www.google.com/amp/s/reason.com/2019/09/05/the-futility-of-a-gun-buyback/%3famp

https://www.thetrace.org/2019/09/assault-weapon-buyback-policy-cost-estimates/

Alice Jones

Thank you state police for quantifying the cost of a life. You guys are the best. That’s sarcasm.....

collinsm65

So you want them to take something that can cost upwards and over $2K with no compensation whatsoever? Not to count cost of ammo that goes along with it? Not a **** chance. The vast, vast majority of owners do not use them for anything evil. Why not take people's cars since those kill a whole lot more people every single day then....and you'd have that same argument about turning in junk cars too.

BunnyLou

I wonder who keeps electing this empty suit to that position?

wran

Well, they certainly don't consider the financial impact of everything else. Why should this one be different?

shiftless88

Actually you are 100% incorrect. A financial impact was requested, information was provided, and he took an action based on that input.

KellyAlzan

Politicians are so stupid. MD home Improvement commission laws are antiquated and outdated and need a complement overhaul. They date back to the 1960’s when contractors were honest.

Ron - you’re missing the boat

collinsm65

Can we stay on topic?

mr_twist27

Imagine that, a politician trying to pass a law and doesn't have any idea on the fiscal impact it would have.

shiftless88

Are you and wran just too stupid to actually read the story? Even the headline contradicts your statement.

wran

The headline of the article has absolutely nothing to do with what I said. And, you apparently have no clue what I meant. Typical liberal who calls everybody stupid who makes a statement they don't agree with.

DickD

What a life worth? I do agree with Hough that it would not be effective.

FCPS-Principal

The real reason for the withdrawal of course is passing such a bill would bring thousands of Nazis, Klansmen, Confederates, Jew-Baiters, Bikers, etc., to the streets of Frederick. You know. "Fine people."

Frayou

Like politicians wouldn’t know this would be expensive up front? Playing politics, totally oblivious, or indicative of how disconnected from reality?

collinsm65

Some politicians have no idea how much a gun costs. Many never owned one, yet want to pass all sorts of asinine laws about them. Even a poorly built AR is around $600 and can run into the thousands for a decent one.

KR999

Baltimore has had a $500 gun bounty program for years, turn in a gun and get $500, no questions asked. And a blind man can see how effective it's been with a record number of shootings last year. Young is naive/delusional to think his idea would get anywhere near the results he's looking for.

shiftless88

The buy back in Baltimore is on a limited basis for short periods of time.

Alice Jones

Nonsensical comparison.

KR999

And why is that, Alice? I happen to think it's a perfect comparison.

collinsm65

You won't get anyone turning in a $2000 gun for $500. People would just take it elsewhere and sell it legally (or illegally) or just bury it or stash it where it would never be found until SHTF.

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