maryland

Maryland’s Second Amendment Nightmare: Coming Soon to a State Near You?

by Jonathan F. Keiler, American Thinker  |  published on April 16, 2013

If you want to see how firearm sales can be effectively banned, look no farther than the so-called “free state” of Maryland. Although Maryland’s newly promulgated “assault gun” ban and licensing requirements will not go into effect until October, it is already nearly impossible to reasonably purchase a pistol or other “regulated” weapon in the state, and those who do face waiting periods of 50-60 days and increasing daily.

After October 1, with additional training requirements (including range time), fingerprinting, and licensing, it’s likely that waiting times will increase exponentially, and that would-be legal gun owners will face periods of additional months, or conceivably years, before they can receive a pistol or other regulated weapon (though nevermore a so-called “assault weapon.”) Under this scenario, it’s hard to see how many gun dealers will remain in business, or why online outfits would bother to sell here (some already don’t).

Going into a Maryland gun shop today is like going into an East German department store in the 1970s or ’80s. You’ll find little but empty shelves, or shelves filled with weapons already labeled “sold” but whose owners can’t yet pick their guns up. Even without Maryland’s draconian new gun law, weapons sales in the state are already heavily regulated. Maryland’s ambitious leftist Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley, and a pliant Democratic-dominated legislature passed the harsh new measures despite the fact that Beretta operates its U.S. plant in Maryland and threatened to move and take hundreds of jobs with it if Maryland passed the new legislation. That made no difference to the Democrats.

Under already existing law, purchases of pistols or “assault weapons” are limited to one per month and require a background check by the Maryland State Police (MSP) and a seven-day waiting period. This system has already stymied gun sales in the state. With unprecedented purchases due to fear over potential (and now actual) heightened restrictions, the MSP is swamped with paperwork.

Many gun enthusiasts suspect, like workers attempting to divine the will of the politburo, that the MSP is under secret orders from O’Malley to drag its feet processing new applications. I doubt that any such a conspiracy exists, or that the MSP is deliberately slowing the process. Rather, it is just choosing not to make heroic efforts to clear the backlog, while letting the law and natural bureaucratic inertia do the rest.

Beginning October 1, things promise to get immeasurably worse. The new Maryland law, like other recently promulgated efforts at firearms regulation, purports to respect the rights of gun owners, but its provisions quite insidiously eat away at the very heart of the 2nd Amendment. Most obviously is the “assault gun” ban, which makes most currently regulated long guns illegal.

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