By J.J. McQueen,
Special to the AFRO
All around the country General Assemblies everywhere are discussing the importance of gun laws. With states like Alabama lowering standards for permits for gun owners addressed by their bill (HB272), the idea of what gun legislation within the state of Maryland is also being revised.
With major cities across the country seeing increases in violent crimes and homicides, how to limit easy access to guns continue to be a hot button topic in the first quarter of the year. Currently, Baltimore has seen 68 homicides, a number that Mayor Brandon Scott has expressed displeasure with.
How are Maryland legislators working to help reduce the easy access to guns?
The idea of House Bill HB1021 attempts to address making businesses harder targets for gun thefts. Sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Andrienne A. Jones, the bill would require licensed gun dealers to provide added measures for display cases for gun merchandise being sold.
The legislation would also require that when business are closed that all merchandise be locked away in a safe, or in a sealed vault. Should qualified dealers fail to comply, they could be hit with a civil penalty that carries a maximum $1,000, and on a second offense see a misdemeanor charge punishable by a $10,000 fine or up to three years imprisonment.
“The measures are meant to keep people safe.” –Speaker House Speaker Andrienne A. Jones
These added measures are already on display in Baltimore County, and have shown signs of helping curve store thefts.
The idea of added more safety measures is one that is also supported by, Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr.
During the bill’s hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, it was noted that 51 guns were stolen from a licensed dealer during one incident.
“That’s 51 more guns in the hands of criminals, a similar baseline to what is being provided with the passage of House Bill 1021. Baltimore County has seen marked improvements in security since the local bill passed with bipartisan support.” – Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr.
While the goal is to increase public safety, not all parties are onboard with the proposed legislation. Gun shop owners feel that they will get pinched with the added expenses of having to eat the cost of what lobbyist Frank Boston III calls, “forced legislation.”
With the strength of HB1021 most likely to pass, the days of ahead of the gun conversation will certainly bring more intense discussion.
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