[Del. Kathleen] Dumais said her bill would provide legislative support to the legal actions already taken by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.
In July, Frosh joined a lawsuit filed by Washington state’s attorney general to block the release of instructions for 3D guns to the public by Defense Distributed Inc., an organization that sought to distribute the digital schematics. A final ruling on the case is expected to be made this month.
“Obviously, the state can’t regulate the internet, but we can certainly indicate what is allowable in Maryland or what you can possess in Maryland,” Dumais said of the plastic guns. “They might be legal otherwise, but you’re not going to be able to create them or have them in Maryland.”
In March, the Maryland legislature passed its version of a red flag law - legislation that would
[Authorize] certain individuals to file a petition for an extreme risk protective order with a certain court or a District Commissioner under certain circumstances; requiring a petition for an extreme risk protective order to contain certain information on the present danger including the number, types, and location of any known firearms in possession of the respondent; authorizing a judge to enter an interim extreme risk protective order to require the respondent to surrender any firearm in the respondent's possession; etc.
These laws are key components of almost every gun safety organization’s list of legislative demands, and Maryland’s passed by an overwhelming 116-17 margin in the House and 31-13 in the state Senate. The state already has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, as ranked by the Giffords Law Center, and enacting this legislation was the organization’s biggest key to improving them further.
The law went into effect in October, and we’re now starting to get the first data on its impact, with the Maryland Judiciary reporting that it received 114 requests for firearm removal under the law in the first month:
Those requests results in guns being removed at least temporarily in a majority of cases and longer in 36 cases in which judges granted a final order — meaning guns could be taken away and the subjects could be prohibited from buying or possessing other firearms for up to one year.
Fewer than half of the requests — 44 — came from law enforcement. Most came from other sources such as family members and spouses, data show.
In a high profile incident, two police officers serving an order in Anne Arundel County - site of the Capital Gazette mass shooting - shot and killed a man they were serving one of the red flag court orders to. The man “became irate” at the officers, picked up his weapon off a table near the door. He struggled with the officers, his gun went off, and the officers defended themselves. The man’s family had petitioned for the order after “an incident.”
Police Chief Timothy Altomare said this incident proves that the law is working.
“Of course it causes me concern that officers might be put into a position where they’re confronting a person who’s exhibited evidence of non-clear thought with weapons,” he said.
But he said he rather have a trained officer confronting someone in that situation than a civilian.
A Montgomery County judge on Monday ordered a Rockville teen to remain in custody and deemed him a danger to the community following a series of social media threats he allegedly made against students at Bethesda’s Walter Johnson High School, including posting a photo of himself carrying an AR-15 rifle with loaded magazines and the words, “school shooter.”
This case was an early test for Maryland’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law that went into effect on October 1. The law allows a judge to require a person to surrender firearms and ammunition they possess and prevents them from purchasing more while under a civil order.
Gun laws work.