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Ammo clip, gun dealer legislation dead

ANNAPOLIS — Gun-rights advocates can rest easy after a House panel last week killed some of the most controversial firearms proposals facing the General Assembly.

The House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly voted to squash a pair of identical bills that sought to cut in half the number of bullets a detachable magazine can carry. The panel also voted down a bill that would have given state police broad authority to regulate gun dealers.

Of all the firearms bills being debated this session, the ammunition clip and gun-dealer proposals drew some of the strongest ire from Second Amendment groups.

The House committee’s vote to bury the gun bills came as a key lawmaker secured passage of the Senate version of the gun-dealer proposal.

Sen. Brian Frosh, a Montgomery Democrat and an ardent gun-control proponent, successfully shepherded the bill to narrow passage this week in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. It marked the first time in several years that Frosh has been able to advance a gun-control measure out of the committee he chairs.

Frosh also was hopeful that the makeup of his committee, which has four new members, would help to move forward the Senate version of the ammunition clip bill, which he sponsored.

Those plans are all but dashed because of the House committee’s action to kill the cross-filed versions of the bills.

“I’ll bring them back next year,” Frosh said.

Frosh is one of a handful of lawmakers who supported legislation this session to limit the size of ammunition clips to hold no more than 10 rounds. State law currently allows ammunition magazines to hold up to 20 rounds.

The bills, which mirror a federal effort to ban high-capacity ammunition clips, were fashioned in direct response to the January shooting rampage that injured Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others.

Opponents labeled the ammo clip bills as an attempt to exploit a tragedy.

“A knee-jerk reaction,” Del. Michael McDermott, a Worcester Republican and a member of the House Judiciary, said of the bills.”This is how some of the worst legislation gets crafted.”

The ammo clip bills died on 17-2 votes.

The House Judiciary rejected the gun dealer bill by a 16-3 vote.

That bill would have required gun dealers to maintain sales records for all firearms and would have given state police more authority to inspect such records in an attempt to better trace firearms. The bill also would have given state police more power over who gets licensed to sell guns.

The bill’s sponsor, Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery, called the measure a “common sense” proposal that should have been received better by the committee.

“It didn’t seek to limit anyone’s individual gun rights,” Hucker said.”It sought to address the problem of irresponsible gun dealers.”

5 comments

  1. The ammo clips bill died, and so have people. Can someone please give me ONE legitimate reason why this is needed? Yet another example of how the NRA has the government in their pockets. If a relative of one of these elected officials had died, it would be a different story. “Knee-jerk reaction?” Its a wake up call.

  2. Chad,

    I’m really sorry that these “feel good” bills died an early death in the MGA. I’m sorry because they gave people such as yourself the feeling that passage of these idiotic and ill conceived bills might actually have something to do with increasing the safety of the citizens of Maryland. In reality, they would have done nothing other than to give people such as yourself, who obviously have no idea how firearms work or why some of us shoot as a hobby, want to stop people such as yourself and Senator Frosh from infringing on our rights under the Second Amendment to own firearms. A better question to ask, and obviously you seem to have the answers, is how would the passage of these bills make Maryland a safer place in which to work and live? If anyone wants to commit a heinous crime such as the one that was committed in Arizona, the number of bullets in their firearm has nothing to do with the eventual body count. They would simply carry additional magazines with them to the scene of the crime and have to reload more often. As far as the bill to further regulate firearms dealers goes, I ask you this Chad: Have you ever attempted to purchase a regulated firearm in Maryland? I’ll bet that you have NO IDEA what the laws and regulations are that gun dealers have to follow as far as record keeping goes now. So Chad, please tell us all how requiring additional reams of paperwork will make Maryland a safer place to live and work.

  3. Interesting that liberals equate people dying with my freedom to protect myself. I look at it the other way. More innocent people are alive because of guns. More guns and larger ammo clips = more innocent people living happily.

  4. I have been shooting 50 years with all kinds of guns and I haven’t killed any one yet and don’t plan too, When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.

  5. I am a firearm enthusiast, and have a small collection of military rifles (most of which have “high capacity” magazines), so I obviously believe in our right to bear arms. But I’m also not blind to facts. The Arizona shooter was captured while he was reloading, as was the nut who shot at the White House some years back; a quick Google search will yield similar incidents. To say that 20-30 round pistol is no more dangerous than a 6 shot revolver, or a semi-auto pistol with a lower round count is ludicrous. Yes, the shooter will simply reload, but he/she is vulnerable then. And they will do significantly less damage if they have to reload often, rather than spraying 30 rounds at a time. I do agree that many of MD’s gun laws are wonky, don’t have anything to do with improving public safety, and are simply aimed at being an inconvenience to gun owners. But hey, look at the bright side, you could live in California.

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