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Action-A-Day 3/7: Keep Maryland Safe from Gun Violence

ACTION:  Call your State Senators Today to ask them to keep Marylanders and visitors safe from gun violence.  These bills will specifically strengthen protections for women in domestic abuse situations and young people on Maryland College Campuses.   The bills coming before our Congressional Delegations specifically speak to issues regarding 1) domestic violence crimes;   2) Closing loopholes in background checks for long guns;  3) Weapons free Higher-Education.

OVERVIEW:   Many Marylanders are sports-men & women and enjoy owning guns.  Many are safety conscious and use firearms with care.  Many others simply want to ensure our basic Constitutional rights are upheld and feel strongly that gun ownership is a guaranteed right.  All of these are valid concerns and most people can agree to rationally protecting everyone’s rights.  However, in our society it has also become glaringly clear that some members of society should not possess or have access to weapons of explicit destruction.  To that end some very common- sense- laws are being proposed thru our State Legislature.  Many women’s groups, Parents groups, Educators and others are banding together to protect each other by passing and supporting Sensible Gun Safety for ALL.  Please join in this effort by making a call today. 

Tomorrow, March 8, 2017 the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear testimony on SB 727 and SB 948.  Two Carroll County Senators are on this committee, Senator Michael Hough (R), District 4 and Senator Justin Ready (R), District 5.

CALL TO ACTION:  If you reside in Maryland District 4 or 5, or have concern about such bills, call your senator and request their support for these bills in committee on March 8.

Sen. Michael J. Hough (R), District 4, (410) 841-3704, (301) 858-3704
Sen. Justin D. Ready (R),     District 5, (410) 841-3683, (301) 858-3683

SAMPLE SCRIPT:   Thank you for keeping Maryland safe from gun violence, and I hope you will continue to do so by supporting these three life-saving bills, SB 948 - requiring background checks for long gunsSB 727 - to keep guns away from domestic abusers and further I support HB 159 - keeping campuses safe and weapons free.

FURTHER BACKGROUND:

HB 1424 / SB 727 DISQUALIFYING CRIME FORFIETURE PROCESS

  • Although this bill covers many disqualifying crimes, it includes domestic violence crimes – Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.1
  • Maryland law already requires that prohibited abusers under protective orders must turn in their guns once the order is in place—and courts inform abusers that they must do so.
  • Maryland law also prohibits people convicted of domestic violence from purchasing new guns, but there is nothing in the law that ensures abusers turn in the guns they already own.
  • That means that someone who has been convicted of a serious crime, and can no longer legally possess guns, would still have access to deadly weapons.
  • The group Court Watch Montgomery tracked the cases of 126 offenders prohibited due to a domestic violence conviction in a 1-year period in Montgomery County. The group found that in only one single case among those offenses was the convicted abuser even informed that he could not possess guns due to his conviction.2
  • Many states, including nearby states like Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut, have state laws that require convicted domestic abusers turn in their guns.
  • The law should ensure that these convicted abusers turn in their guns before they can use them to further harm their partners, families, or anyone else.
  • This law would require every person who is convicted of a disqualifying domestic violence crime to turn in any guns he/she owns.
  • This law would also allow convicted abusers to choose whether to turn their guns in to law enforcement or to a gun dealer once they become prohibited.

1Jacquelyn C. Campbell et al., Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from a Multisite Case Control Study, 93 Am. J. Pub. Health 1089, 1092 (July 2003).

2http://bit.ly/1SvRNQt

 

HB 1448 / SB 948 CLOSING THE LOOPHOLE, BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR LONG GUNS

  • Current Maryland law requires criminal background checks for all handgun sales, but not for all rifle and shotgun sales.
  • Maryland has required background checks on gun sales for twenty years, but dangerous people can evade these laws easily by buying rifles or shotguns from unlicensed sellers without going through a background check.
  • Long guns can be just as deadly as handguns.
  • While Maryland women make up only 10 percent of all gun homicide victims, they account for 36 percent of those killed with rifles and shotguns.1
  • Sixteen percent of intimate partner gun homicides in the US are committed with a long gun.
  • Among the 19 states that require background checks for all handgun sales, 13 of them also require background checks for all rifle and shotgun sales.
  • People selling shotguns or rifles would simply meet their buyers at a gun dealer, who would conduct the criminal background check using the same process dealers already use for sales from their own inventory.
  • Nearly all (99.9 percent) of Marylanders live within 10 miles of a licensed gun dealer.2
  • Legislation should include reasonable exceptions from the background check requirement, including for family, hunting, and self-defense.

1 FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2009-2013

2http://bit.ly/1TJZTT3

 

HB 159 WEAPONS FREE HIGHER-EDUCATION

  • Many states are passing Campus Carry bills that will expand the use of concealed carry of firearms on college campuses. This bill will help prevent any similar legislation from moving through our state legislature and keep our public higher education campuses safe from gun violence.
  • In Maryland, decisions of firearms on public higher education campuses are left up to institutions.
  • Adolescent brains not fully developed.  Late adolescence and early adulthood is marked by increases in a variety of risky behaviors including violence, binge drinking, and drug abuse.
  • Guns on campus increase the risk of suicide
  • Suicidal behavior that leads to death or hospital treatment peaks at age 16, but remains high through age 25, covering the age span of most college students. About 1,100college students die by suicide each year.1
  • Mental illness, such as depressions, commonly emerges during adolescence. Stress associated with transition to college-life can lead to higher rates of depression and anxiety.
  • Suicide attempts are far more lethal when a firearm is involved; resulting in death 85% of the time, as compared with a drug overdose resulting in death 2% of the time.
  • A recent study identified 85 incidents of shootings or undesirable discharges of firearms on college campuses in the U.S. from January 2013 through June 2016. Only two of these 85 incidents (2.4%) involved a shooter on a rampage. The most common incidents were interpersonal disputes that escalated into gun violence (45%), premeditated acts of violence against an individual (12%), suicides or murder/suicides (12%), and unintentional shootings or discharges (9%)2
  • Debugging the myth that you need a good guy with a gun to defend self (Against Mass Shooting or Crime)
  • Study by David Hemenway at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health released study in The Journal of Preventative Medicine examines data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (2007-2011)
  • Out of 90,000 households defensive firearm use very rare
  • Firearm actually escalates the violent incident
  • NCVS data indicates victims used guns defensively in less than 1% of attempted or completed crimes (70,000 incidents a year)
  • Gun Violence Archive (GVA) found only 1,600 VERIFIED cases of defensive gun use in 2014
  • Debugging the myth that women or students on campuses need guns to protect against rape or sexual assault
  • Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus conducted a study of on-campus crime rates in Utah and Colorado after campus carry was enacted.
  • In Colorado, since legislation passed, rate of forcible rape increased by 25% in 2012 and 36% in 2013
  • In Utah, campus rape increased nearly 50% between 2012-2013
  • By contrast, sexual assaults nationwide have been decreasing by about 3% annually
  • This data doesn’t prove guns on campus cause crime, but they refute the idea that more guns deter crime.
  • This bill prohibits firearms on publics university and college campuses; except for:
  • On duty law enforcement with wear and carry permit
  • Off-duty or retired law enforcement with wear and carry permit
  • Person engaged in an organized shooting event on campus

1 http://smartgunlaws.org/smart-gun-laws-and-suicide-prevention/
2Webster, Daniel. “Firearms on College Campuses: Research Evidence and Policy Implications” (2016)