With little debate, the Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday passed three gun control bills that expand the state’s assault weapons ban and creates ways to seize guns from dangerous people.
The chamber approved, 128-7, a ban on “bump stocks” and other devices that can turn a semi-automatic gun into a rapid fire one. Those after-market devices were used by the shooter in last year’s massacre that killed 58 at a Las Vegas concert.
House Minority Leader Nic Kipke, quoting the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, said there are limits to the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Adding bump stocks to the state’s existing assault weapons ban, he said, was “common sense” since the state and federal government already bans fully automatic weapons.
“This bill makes sense to me. But I don’t think it’s going to make us much safer,” said Kipke, an Anne Arundel County Republican with an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. He urged his colleagues to pass other laws that give tougher sentences to repeat violent offenders.
The Maryland Senate is scheduled to consider the ban Friday.
The House also passed, 116-17, a so-called “red flag law” that would allow a judge to order gun owners to temporarily surrender their firearms if they’re deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Advocates say such a law may have prevented last month’s shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17. Law enforcement had raised concerns about the suspect months before the shooting, but said they had no legal way to seize his guns.
The chamber also approved a new way to make sure gun owners convicted of domestic violence incidents surrender their weapons. Current law forbids them from owning them, but there is not currently a way to ensure the firearms are not in their possession.
Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has endorsed all three gun control proposals, which now move to the Senate for consideration.