Wes Moore joins Democratic legislative leaders in calling for stricter gun policies in Maryland

Without an umbrella, Gov. Wes Moore moved his way through a sea of rain-soaked red shirts Tuesday at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis to show his support for forthcoming legislation to further regulate where Marylanders can carry and how they store firearms.

“There are people in our society who have not just the intent, but the accessibility to firearms — to weapons of war — that are not allowing our children to grow up in peace and safety,” the Democratic governor said. “We have an obligation to take this personally.”


This legislative session, Democratic lawmakers are prioritizing bills to raise the age for access rifles and shotguns, prohibit guns from being carried in certain settings and end civil immunity for arms manufacturers.

The number of Marylanders who applied for concealed-carry gun permits through the Maryland State Police skyrocketed after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a state policy unconstitutional last summer.


The former policy required applicants to demonstrate that they did not have a predisposition for violent behavior and provide a legal, established reason, or “good cause,” to carry a firearm. After the court’s ruling, then-Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, issued an order in July to suspend the good cause policy.

According to Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chair Will Smith, state police had previously issued approximately 15,000 permits each year. Since July, the agency has issued 80,000.

“They’re doing more now in a month than they used to do in an entire year,” the Montgomery County Democrat said.

Despite the policy change, Maryland has some of the strongest state gun control laws in the country.

Moore told representatives of the Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America that they “have a governor who takes this personally.”

Melissa Ladd, chapter leader at Maryland Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, gets a hug Tuesday from Gov. Wes Moore. The group rallied Tuesday at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis.

Melissa Ladd, a parent and substitute teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools, is the state chapter leader for Moms Demand Action. She said the organization is excited “to have a partner in the governor’s mansion” as compared to Hogan. He vetoed several of the organization’s priorities, including legislation to prohibit the sale or transfer of ghost guns, which are firearms without serial numbers. The Democrat-controlled General Assembly overrode the vetoes.

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Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Vice Chair Jeff Waldstreicher, a Democrat from Montgomery County, is sponsoring three bills to further regulate Marylanders’ access to guns, including bills to:

  • Limit the sale and possession of rifles, shotguns and ammunition to people under 21;
  • Restrict firearms from being carried in restaurants, bars, concert venues, sports arenas and movie theaters, among other public places, and
  • Allow the attorney general and private individuals to sue gun manufacturers and dealers for damages from “creating a public nuisance” by making and selling guns.

Waldstreicher’s bill on liability for manufacturers and dealers is being sponsored in the House by Democratic Del. Sandy Rosenberg of Baltimore and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Vanessa Atterbeary, a Howard County Democrat.


The other two bills have not been filed in the House chamber. House Judiciary Committee Chair Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat, said at the rally that his committee “will be looking” at similar policies.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a database that tracks mass shootings across the U.S., there have been 52 mass shootings in 2023. The archive defines those shootings as a minimum of four people injured or killed, not including any shooter who is hurt or dies.

“I know I am among friends, and your friendship helps me feel safe,” Waldstreicher told advocates outside of the State House. “But you know what else helps me feel safe? There are no guns allowed here on Lawyers Mall.”

State law bans firearms in state buildings and during demonstrations at state sites that include the mall.

“And, unfortunately, our friends in Monterey Park, California, and Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, and Highland Park, Illinois, and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston — they weren’t so lucky,” he said.

Supporter and mom Trish Vogel of Frederick, holds a sign at a Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence/Every Town for Gun Safety rally Tuesday at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis.
For the record

This article has been corrected to show that one of the bills filed by Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher has a companion bill in the House. The Sun regrets the error.