Maryland gun rights activists drop referendum effort

by Meredith Somers-The Washington Times  |  published on April 18, 2013

 Neil Parrott
JESSUP, Md. — Maryland gun activists on Wednesday made the surprising announcement that they would not pursue a referendum to block sweeping gun laws passed by the General Assembly earlier this month, choosing instead to lend their support to a planned lawsuit by the National Rifle Association challenging the new measures.

Standing before about 100 supporters at a Jessup beer hall, Delegate Neil C. Parrot defended the decision and reiterated his opposition to the new gun laws.

“Certainly after discussions with the gun groups, it’s clear this is a constitutional right that should not go to the citizens to vote on,” Mr. Parrott said. “We do not tax a right, we do not license a right, and that’s what this bill does.”

Since the bill was approved, supporters have suggested a plan to put its fate into the hands of voters. For an issue to make it on the ballot as a statewide referendum, organizers must collect 55,736 signatures.

Activists on Wednesday said they were confident they could have collected the signatures, which would have delayed the law’s implementation at least through the November 2014 elections.

“The challenge is philosophical,” said Patrick Shomo, president of the gun-rights group Maryland Shall Issue. “We never want to be out in a position where our rights are up to a popular vote.”

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