Gun safety advocates hope to enact ghost gun ban into law

Although Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh welcomed the passing of the ghost ban, State Senator Susan Lee and Montgomery County Del. Lesley Lopez wondered how Governor Larry Hogan would react.

A ghost gun ban sits on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s desk as advocates make another push to get him signed.

After years of trying, a bill banning phantom guns in Maryland has made its way to the governor’s desk. But will he sign it? Supporters say they aren’t sure, but they argue it’s a grassroots decision that will become law one way or another.

Maryland State Senator Susan Lee said the rise in ghost guns is a “dangerous and dangerous threat for public safety”.

“They don’t have a serial number, they’re not traceable, and they don’t require any background checks,” Lee said, “and they’re used as the weapon of choice for violent criminals, domestic abusers, those which are prohibited by law from having firearms and, more worryingly now, they are easily accessible to children who are even savvier about assembling them.

A shooting at Magruder High School in Derwood earlier this year was also brought up by Melissa Ladd, who leads the Maryland chapter of gun safety group Moms Demand Action. She lives near the school and has friends whose children go to Magruder.

“The impact of gun violence has only increased in the pandemic,” Ladd said. “For me, the urgency of this issue has never been closer to home.”

“This was the second time a child has accessed a ghost gun right here in Montgomery County in the past few months,” she added. “Our state now has a clear path to banning these dangerous and unobtainable weapons.”

So, will the governor sign the bill?

Although Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh welcomed the passing of the ghost banState Senator Susan Lee and Montgomery County Delegate Lesley Lopez asked how the governor would react.

Although Lee admitted she wasn’t sure what the governor thought of the matter, Lopez says, after informal talks with Hogan’s staff, her hunch is that a veto won’t happen.

“I pointed out to the Governor’s staff that, according to a Morning Consult poll conducted in late February, 59% of Republican voters actually support regulating privately manufactured firearms the same way we would regulate any other kind of firearms. gun,” Lopez said. . “I indicated that this is an issue that is getting very, very strong national polls and that he should give it his full support.”

Both Lee and Lopez said the votes were there in their respective chambers to override a veto if it happened.

“We’re ready to go,” Lopez said. “The numbers are on our side both in terms of votes in the chambers and in terms of polls on the issue nationwide. Bullets in Governor’s Court, but I think there’s plenty to be hopeful about.

However, the chambers’ phantom gun bills have not always seen a unified approach, as Maryland’s House and Senate chambers have approached passing the laws very differently.

More specifically, the final invoice on Hogan’s desk says guns won’t be banned until March 2023 and clarifies serial number rules. The Lopez-sponsored House Bill originally banned sales starting June 1 and banned having ghost weapons on January 1, 2023.

Either way, Melissa Ladd says this tireless advocacy presents a clear path to banning these ghost weapons.

“One thing is certain: phantom guns are an extreme threat to communities in Maryland, and it’s time for that to change,” she said.

Maryland sees more than 700 gun deaths on average per year and more than 1,700 people injured due to gun violence in the state.

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