Bill requiring background checks for private long gun sales moves forward in Maryland House of Delegates

Bill requiring background checks for private long gun sales moves forward in Maryland House of Delegates

Gun Rights

The Maryland House of Delegates considered the gun bill during its Saturday session. (Pamela Wood / Baltimore Sun) The Maryland House of Delegates is moving forward a bill that would require background checks for all purchases of long guns, including shotguns and rifles. The measure is a priority of gun control advocates and, after receiving preliminary approval Saturday, it is set for a final vote Monday. The bill closes what some say is a gap in state law that allows private sales of shotguns and rifles without background checks. All sales of handguns and long guns from licensed dealers require background checks. “It closes a significant loophole,” said Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, a Howard County Democrat who is the bill’s main sponsor. Atterbeary’s bill was initially much broader, creating a long-gun license and a registry of long-gun owners. But those provisions were stripped out by the House Judiciary Committee. “It got gutted, in my opinion,” Atterbeary said. Atterbeary said the revised bill still leaves a loophole. Maryland residents could buy rifles and shotguns in other states that don’t require background checks and then bring them into the state. Still, she said, the version moving forward would be a significant policy improvement by requiring more background checks. She said the background checks — which take about 20 minutes and can be completed at a licensed dealer — will flag people who are prohibited from buying a gun for reasons such as being previously convicted of violent crimes. Gun control advocates, including […]

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