A DPMS AR-15 assault weapon (top), and a Colt HBAR .223 caliber AR-15 rifle in a Glen Burnie gun shop.
A DPMS AR-15 assault weapon (top), and a Colt HBAR .223 caliber AR-15 rifle in a Glen Burnie gun shop. (KARL MERTON FERRON / Baltimore Sun)

With survivors of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. — which killed 17 — and other advocates calling for Congress to take action to prevent future school shootings, gun laws like Maryland’s are being debated on a national scale.

Maryland, which already had tough gun laws compared with many other states, in 2013 became one of a few states that passed even stricter laws regulating firearms after the December 2012 massacre of 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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The pro-gun-control Brady Campaign ranks Maryland’s gun laws the seventh-strictest in the country.

These are some provisions of the 2013 law and previous statutes:

The 2013 law:

  • Bans the sale or transfer of 45 firearms defined as assault weapons, including AR-15 models similar to that used in Parkland and other recent mass shootings. Individuals who owned such guns before Oct. 1, 2013, may continue to possess them.
  • Bans the manufacturing, sale or transfer of detachable magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
  • Prohibits possession of so-called “cop-killer” bullets during the commission of a crime of violence.
  • Creates a licensing system for the purchase of handguns under which individuals are required to undergo a criminal background check and to be fingerprinted. Applicants must certify under penalty of perjury that they are not prohibited by state of federal law from owning a handgun. Most applicants must complete a certified firearms training course.
  • Requires gun dealers to keep records of all firearms transactions and the state police to inspect dealers’ inventory and records every two years.
  • Restricts possession of firearms by individuals with a history of mental illness.
  • Bans certain categories of people from owning rifles or shotguns, including those with criminal convictions, mental illnesses or drug addictions.

Previous laws:

  • Prohibit sale and possession of 15 specific handguns classified as “assault pistols.”
  • Ban people convicted of crimes involving violence or drugs from possessing regulated firearms, including the assault weapons whose sale was banned in 2013.
  • Require firearms dealers to be licensed by the state.
  • Require individuals carrying handguns, concealed or not, to obtain a permit from Maryland State Police, for which they must have a “good and substantial reason” to do so. In practice, few are issued such permits.
  • Require handguns manufactured after 2002 and sold in Maryland to have internal trigger locks.

Source: Department of Legislative Services

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