From Del. Kathy Szeliga:
Hello and welcome to another Szeliga Weekly Update! This is our last full week in Annapolis and it has been busy with a lot of debate around gun control legislation and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. In this edition, I will address the 2013 firearms bill, and the so called 2013 Highway Safety Act.
Gun Bill of 2013 – summary
The controversial 2013 Firearms Safety Act passed the House of Delegates this week on a vote of 78-61. This bill restricts our 2nd Amendment rights. Here are some highlights from the bill that passed.
The bill is prospective and not retroactive. Owners of assault weapons can keep their guns. After October 1 they can only sell them to a federal firearms dealer. These firearms may also be passed on as an inheritance when the owner dies.
Copycat weapons are also banned. A copy cat weapon is defined as a centerfire, semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine that has two or more of the following features:
1. folding stock
2. grenade or flare launcher
3. flash suppressor
The copycat also includes;
1. a semi-automatic centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.
2. semi-automatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds
3. semi-automatic shotgun that has a folding stock
4. a shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
Exceptions to the ban include manufacturers, dealers, importers, active law enforcement officers or military folks, testing facilities etc.
Magazine Capacity Reduction – Magazine size for all firearms is restricted to 10 rounds or less. The bill is not retroactive. Any person who possesses a large capacity magazine may continue to do so. The purchase, manufacture, transfer or sale is prohibited. Possession is not a crime. Exceptions include active or retired law enforcement, active military, dealers, manufacturers, importers, etc.
Handgun Qualification License
Any one not exempted from this provision who wishes to purchase a handgun after October 1, 2013 must apply to the Maryland State Police for a handgun qualification license. The initial license will cost $50. The applicant is required to complete 4 hours of hands on firearms training to include classroom and time at a range. The training is a onetime only requirement for the initial issuance of the license. You must also submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. The training and background checks are at the applicant’s expense. The background check is approximately $54.00.
You do not need a license if you currently own a handgun or assault weapon. You only need the license if you are going to purchase a handgun after October 1, 2013. The license is good for 10 years and you are not required to take a second training course or submit fingerprints when you apply to renew the license. A renewal fee of $20 is required. Exceptions to the License: Active and retired military and police are exempt from the license requirement but must show valid credentials to a dealer to purchase.
Exceptions to the training component but must still get the license:
1. someone who completed an MSP approved certified safety course
2. has completed the DNR hunter safety course
3. is currently a qualified handgun instructor
4. is an honorably discharged member of the armed forces or national guard
5. is an employee of an armored car company who has a handgun permit issued by MSP.
6. LAWFULLY OWNS A REGULATED FIREARM – this is a big exception. If you already own a gun you do not have to ever complete the training to apply for the handgun purchase license.
Mental Health Provisions – There are several provisos that prohibit folks from possessing or purchasing firearms; voluntary commitment of more than 30 days, involuntary commitment, or certain orders of guardianship.
A more complete assessment will be available next week. Additionally, I will be sure to keep you up to date on any action on a petition drive to get the bill on the ballot in 2014.
Driver’s Licenses for Illegal immigrants
Another controversial issue this session was to grant driver’s licenses to people who are not legally present in the United States. If an applicant has filed income taxes in Maryland for the last two years (I’ve been assured that these tax returns will be verified with the Comptroller’s office), they can get a Maryland Driver’s license. I voted against this bill. While I am empathetic towards children who have been brought to our country illegally, immigration must be dealt with at the federal level. This is bad public policy to give identification and driving privileges to people who are not here legally and therefore could avoid responsibility for dangerous actions by fleeing our country.
Monday is Sine Die, the last day of the 90 day legislative session. I will provide you will a wrap up of the 2013 Maryland General Assembly legislative session next week.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Please keep them coming my way.
Delegate Kathy Szeliga
Thanks for the wrap up.
Monday can’t come soon enough!
PS, I don’t understand the retired LEO exemptions. Why are they protected? They can dial 911 like everyone else!
Marc Eaton says
Why did you only question why LEO are exempt? Only thing that can’t come soon enough is OweMalley’s last day in office!
Because retired cops are not a protected class and should be subject to the same laws as every other citizen in this state. Why should a retired cop be able to purchase new 15 round magazines for his pistol, when Joe Citizen is limited to 10 rounds?
Retired officers are permitted to carry concealed handguns virtually anywhere in the U.S. already under the same federal law that permits active law enforcement officers to carry legally virtually anywhere in the U.S. even if it’s outside their jurisdiction or state.
There some requirements (minimum 10 years of service, qualify annually through a local law enforcement agency, etc) and obviously they don’t have arrest powers any longer even if they’re in the jurisdiction where they worked their careers.
Other than that, I agree with you. This law is a joke and limiting magazine capacity and banning certain weapons (most of which are very very rarely used in crimes) will do nothing to reduce gun violence.
So because a retired officer can carry in all 50 states, he deserves 11+ round magazines while a private citizen should only have access to 10 round magazines?
Actually, this ban on “high capacity magazines” is absolutely ridiculous and shouldn’t even exist.
Fed up says
I would go a step further – LEOs should have the same “laws” applied to them (period). This law is bogus from the get-go, but the State should be held to the same standard as the People, no exceptions.
Sorry to say willy, the police are not obligated to protect you. Good luck with your 911 when someone breaks in your place.
Fed up says
Wow – the police are here to write police reports. How many home invasions, armed robberies and worse yet murders downtown were ever stopped or witnessed by police? They aren’t – that’s how they end up as crime statistics. Police show up after the fact nearly 100% of the time. Their presence either prevents a crime from occuring (temporarily) or they are merely mingling with the law-abiding during their daily routine. In terms of protecting one’s home and family, there is just one option and O’malley and the rest of those who think they know best for us are trying their elitist best to eliminate that.
Guess illegals can just drive with no license? What sense does that make? Lemme see…here working illegally and here driving without a license are about the same to me, except that at least when driving they are probably insured and passed a driving test.
“What sense does that make?”
About as much sense as letting criminals buy guns. Would it not make sense to know if a criminal had a gun? After all they will get a gun even if we don’t let them buy one, so lets just sell them one and we will know that they have it, and what kind of gun it is.
not quite says
Some 145,000 criminals were denied a fire arms purchase last year due to the existing background checks. (Which is a crime in itself to attempt to purchase) Less then 50 were prosecuted, With about 11 being convicted. Yes, another law will help. If the government refuses to enforce its existing laws, please explain to me how new laws are going to do anything but disarm law abiding citizens? I would love to hear your logic.
Of course they were denied the legal purchase of a gun. However, they were able to buy one anyway from another criminal. If we are going to issue a valid drivers license to people who are here illegally, why not let criminals buy guns? At least we will know the names of the 145,000 who bought one and the kind of gun they purchased. Hell, its all about the revenue anyway.
They already do. Most of them carry some sort of bogus “driver’s license” from Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, or another Central American country and try to pass it off as legit (while also claiming not to speak or understand any English despite living and working in MD for years…) There is at least one defense attorney (and I can’t remember her name offhand) in Harford County who makes her living defending these people, takes almost every one of these cases to trial, and argues (successfully most of the time) that these are legitimate driver’s licenses from another country. Even when it’s obvious that the “license” is a laminated piece of paper with a badly cut photo glued to it the illegal immigrant w/ no license or valid ID is usually found not guilty because there isn’t an expert who can come to court and testify that the bogus ID is fake.
Ever dealt with legitimate South American paperwork? The bureaucrats down there are having a great day if they spell the person’s name correctly on half the documents…
The Constitution doesn’t give you the right to own automatic rifles. I suppose the 2nd amendment gives everyone the right to own their personal nuclear weapon too.
This law does not change how Maryland handles the ownership and transfer of machine guns within the state. It changes how semiautomatic (1 bullet per trigger pull) firearms, that happen to look like machine guns, can be purchased or possessed within the state. I guess we should ban fast-looking cars too.
Quit putting ideas into the head of our legislators. Next thing you know I will have to disguise my Z4 to look like an Amish buggy!
king henry george the 30th says
The ol’ nuclear weapons argument the antis pull with the second amendment, I love it!
The Constitution doesn’t give you the right of free speech on the interne, but you have it.
The Constitution doesn’t give you the right of free speech on the internet, but you have it.
Since when has a nuclear weapon ever been considered a firearm?
It isn’t the 2nd amendment does not say gun or firearm.
True. It says the right to bear arms.
Using your logic, I want my bear arm tomorrow. Polar bear, preferably.
Just saying people forget that. Arms can mean a fist, sword, cannon, gun or rocket!
Not So Shine says
LOL Another Anti breaking out “nuclear weapons” yet again, surprise, surprise. For your viewing pleasure; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo9BbB6rBx0
Fed up says
The one question that everyone seems to manage to avoid – “How would this or any of the bills we’ve heard about since Newtown stop another Tuscon, Aurora or Newtown?” Think long and hard before answering because our politicians are not. In the rush to feel superior, our elected politicians have advanced several liberty-grabbing bills in CT, NY, MD and beyond. Put your politics aside for just a minute and really think about this question – how would Lanza have been stopped by any of these bills. Each week we are reading new tidbits about the investigations of Aurora and Newtown – our politicians were apparently not interested in teh findings of the investigations. In the case of Aurora and Newtown, the reports are already talking about very clear signs of significant violence issues – even opportunities to institutionalize the individual. Tragically, nothing was done. Just yesterday in the news it was reported that the Aurora murderer could have been hospitalized for mental illness for up to 72 hours. Tragically, even if this was done, it would not prevent him from committing mass murder in the theatre. What is even more concerning is that the new laws here in MD would also do nothing to prevent this type of person from acquiring and using any weapon. So – everyone should be sitting back and debating why these situations happen and maybe look at ways we can help before we take away law-abiding citizen’s civil liberties and rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights in any way.
ALEX R says
Delegate Jon Cardin was interviewed after the bill passed and he said point blank that now he can be assured that when he drops of his child in the morning that nothing would happen. He actually said that the bill now makes it a certainty that nothing like Newtown, etc., can happen now that this bill has passed. The guy is either a total numbskull or a very skillful politician. When is somebody going to hold these guys responsible?
You know, when Connecticut passed much tougher gun laws years ago one of the reasons was so that nothing like the school shootings that happened elsewhere could ever happen in Connecticut.
The founding fathers made some mistakes, having guns should not be a constitutional right. Actually the 2nd amendment talks about a “well regulated militia” doesn’t quite square with having unlimited number of weapons and no regulations in place regarding the resale, internet sales, gun shows and straw sales. Not against guns, I have weapons too, however people need to know about gun safety and be responsible gun owners. Most people that commit mass murder obtained the guns legally or from a family member. Let’s have some type of regulations to buy and own guns from the federal level as the law guaranteeing your right to have guns is a federal right, not a state right.
There was no mistake made regarding the 2nd Amendment. The founding fathers knew exactly what they were doing.
Regulations pertaining to the buying and selling of guns already exist. Exactly what regulation do you suggest be in place to prevent mass murder? What is your definition of mass murder?
McDonald vs Chicago in 2010 confirms that the 2nd amendment is a “state right” as well.
The second amendment is not a federal right, it is a limitation on the federal government from infringing on your natural right.
The well regulated militia is to protect us from federal tyranny, yet you want to allow the Feds to regulate firearms?
killing for no reason at an elementary school or a crowed movie theater would qualify as mass murder or a serial killer on a rampage or a coworker going off at the job. You pick the way, guns are always in the mix and these crimes are usually committed with legally purchased guns. The founding fathers couldn’t have predicted today’s world or access to guns, types and automatic weapons!! They made a mistakes in many facets and other amendments have been added overtime to explain, clarify or expand constitutional rights. I predict that is sometime, as these mass murders continue that the public sentiment towards unregulated markets for weapons will be more structured and uniform and as a gun owner myself, I welcome it.
Exactly what regulation do you suggest be in place to prevent mass murder?
newcastle skip hire company says
I am fairly certain I have read this same sort of assertion anywhere else, it needs to be gathering popularity while using people.
So I was scanning the Baltimore sun Crime page today, There have been 4 shootings in Baltimore Since Friday. Not one of the victims would have been saved with these new regulations.
Also, to someone’s “mass murder” question: Please define mass murder? Is it when 5 to 25 people are shot in a relatively short amount of time? or is it when 5 to 25 people are shot in a short amount of time by the same person? Read and choose carefully, because if it’s the former, than “mass murder” took place last night in the streets of America’s crime-riddled cities. In fact, it takes place every night; our legislatures do not have the fortitude to address the real issue which is crime and drugs in the cities. They will lose votes if they do..
no regulation can prevent all mass murders but I am fairly certain that some wouldn’t have occurred if people didn’t just have access to guns so readily and with no background checks. Your right to the 1st amendment is also restricted by some laws regarding libel, inciting riots, pornography and defamation. Clearly no constitutional right should trump all other rights. I believe in due time a law will restrict gun ownership and the Supreme Court will turn your sacred 2nd amendment on its head. It is the only way that you can actually win against the gun lobby.
Mike Welsh says
And if the day occurs that you believe will turn the 2nd amendment on its head, will be the day that the people start serving the government rather than the government serving the people.
Roman, So with all human life being equal in terms of importance: What is more important to rectify first?
Deaths of people one at a time by guns by “everyday criminals” ie drug dealer shootings, store robberies, etc.
Deaths from Mass murder situations such as columbine and the colorado movie theater.
Since you are commenting on the gun issue from your knowledge of facts rather than emotion, tell us which incident of mass murder would have been prevented if we had better background checks for the purchase of guns.
Just for everyone’s education: Maryland already has background checks-Including at gun shows for the average Joe. I can not walk into a gun show tomorrow and leave the show with the gun. I will have to go back to the store and pick it up whenever MSP says I can.
Roman, So again-no answer concerning mass murders or multiple single murders??? how does the new laws pretect “Laquan” who just got capped on Monunment street. They don’t– I guess All life is not equal in your book.
I am not smart enough to determine which mass murders would have been prevented, undoubtedly, some would occur no matter what law is in place. The idea that no regulations should be in place to run a simple background check and prevent a criminal, felon or terrorist from purchasing a weapon with multiple rounds and evermore magazines or automatic weapons is just silly.
Thank you for being forthright regarding the evidence. In very few incidents that could be termed mass murder did the perpetrator use a gun(s) that they had purchased/obtained through the normal legal process. The most recent incident (Sandy Hook) the guns used belonged to the mother of the perpetrator.
I would support actions that would reduce gun violence. I pay attention to the science not the emotional reactions.
@Bear, i wish you would take your own advice and take your emotions out of it and use some of the logic on my side as well. We can disagree on go the laws or proposals but your attitude is quite condescending. Clearly having more access to weapons won’t lead to less murders that my friend is just plain logic.
“Clearly having more access to weapons won’t lead to less murders that my friend is just plain logic.”
When the assault weapons ban was permitted to expire after a ten year period, thus giving more access to guns, murders went down, and have continued to decrease. That is not logic…that is a fact.
Would you agree that holding the owner of the gun criminally liabel for not locking it up would be reasonable? Granted in this case she is dead but if you are going to be a responsible owner you need to secure your arms like a well regulated malitia does!
First, I don’t know that the guns were not locked up. But assuming that they were not, my answer would be no. I would not hold the owner criminally responsible anymore than I would hold you responsible for not locking up your truck, having someone steal it and intentionally crash into a school bus carrying 15 young children, subsequently killing all of them. The sad thing about our society today is that many would want to hold you responsible.
In the truck example theft occurred. If your kid takes your gun should we require theft charges to be pressed. BTW leaving your keys in your car is a crime!
1. I didn’t mention anything about keys. It is not unlawful to leave your vehicle unlocked. Just not the smart thing to do!
2. It would depend on whether they took the car or gun without your permission and you wished to press charges. We have to place the blame where it really belongs.
Do you believe theft occurred when the Sandy Hook shooter took his mothers guns?
See there is the issue if we call it theft that would leave the mother blameless. If the mother lived and said it was not theft I would say that makes her culpable. If you fail to report theft of your car because you believe your kid took it and he kills someone than I would say that makes you culpable.
Mike Welsh says
You seem more interested in finding someone to blame than finding effective ways to prevent escalation of violence. So if your child takes your vehicle without your permission and kills someone you are culpable for your child’s action if you do not report that they took your vehicle. I might agree with you if your child did not have a valid drivers license. How would you view this if your child took your vehicle, you did not know that they took it, and they killed someone? I believe intent and knowledge has more to do with culpability than ownership of equipment. We might as well hold Uniroyal culpable if those were the tires on the vehicle, even if the tires functioned properly.
At the same time, you can’t say that background checks wouldn’t have prevented some mass murders from taking place as well:)
True. It is very difficult to prove a negative. That’s always the rational when the science does not support the agenda.
yet, that is what you did to me as well!!! Aren’t you a smarty pants? in the truck example, if switch and let your dog out and maul a kid, is the dog responsible or the owner? Clearly, if you leave your guns loaded and unlocked and a family member kills someone, you should at least be held liable for the damage! So let me get this straight, your right to have a weapon should be unchecked right that trumps all other rights? Your logic lacks common sense and well, logic!
It looks like the Senate has grown some Ball$ and will actually take up at least the idea of some type of law regulating background checks. @Bear–I am a gun owner, just a responsible one. In fact a growing number of conservatives are also warming up to the idea that background checks are actually a common sense approach to keeping our right to bear arms and I support the regulation of an unchecked arms market.
If you are a gun-owner; then you would know there are already required background checks performed by the MSP. This includes gunshows. There is NO gun show loophole in the state of MD..
OK Roman, if your neighbor takes your gun and then proceeds to kill someone we will hold you responsible. The fact that you did not give permission for the neighbor or anyone else to have your gun is of no relevance.
@Brianc–yes I know, I was talking about a FEDERAL LAW–guess you don’t read much do you?
@Bear–If someone steals your gun, I would agree, however if you leave your gun laying around and your kid uses it to kill someone intentionally or unintentionally, the owner should be held liable for leaving a dangerous weapon unattended. Are you saying that just because you are a gun owner you should bear no responsibility for the safety and care of your weapon?
See that is the well regulated clause. clearly the 2nd amendment recognizes that the malitia the people own the weapons for needs to be well regulated.