Democrats may have a wide majority in both houses of the Maryland legislature, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans from putting forward a package of bills aimed at tackling violent crime – particularly those where a firearm is involved. They’re counting on support from their colleagues on the other side of the aisle to prevail.
Even if it seems like these bills might not have a strong chance of passing, let alone being signed into law, it’s important to know what kinds of things some lawmakers are fighting for. We never know when at least a version of any one of these could end up becoming law at some point. Let’s look briefly at just two of the bills that involve firearms.
The Violent Firearms Offender Act
A similar bill has passed in the Maryland Senate before, but it hasn’t yet made it through the House of Delegates. It would do a number of things, including:
- Make using a firearm to commit a violent crime a felony.
- Make drug dealing a violent crime so that drug dealers who use a firearm could be charged with a felony
- Allow harsher sentences for repeat violent offenders
This bill already has bipartisan support, so it may stand a better chance of passing in this session.
The Gun Theft Felony Act
This would make the theft of a firearm a felony offense. The lawmaker who introduced it has a personal interest in it. Her husband, a pharmacist, and his employees were robbed at gunpoint by a man with a criminal record who apparently was not legally allowed to have a gun. She says changing the law would be a benefit to law-abiding gun owners, who are often the victims of gun theft.
For people who have an interest in politics and don’t see how the machinations of state legislatures affect them, it’s important to understand that this is how our laws are made. They can very much affect your life if you or a loved one is charged with a crime. Having sound legal guidance can help protect your rights as you deal with the legal system.