Del. Jon S. Cardin Introducing Bill to Close Handgun Loophole

Del. Jon S. Cardin Introducing Bill to Close Handgun Loophole

Legislation ensures no handgun buyer gets a gun without a background check

Annapolis, MD – Delegate Jon S. Cardin plans to introduce legislation closing a loophole in Maryland’s handgun laws allowing handgun buyers to obtain a weapon before a background check is completed. In order to buy a handgun under the Firearms Safety Act, an individual must obtain a handgun license which requires a background check. Once that license is obtained, it is valid for 10 years, and the licensee may buy up to one handgun per month. Every time a weapon is purchased, a fresh background check is completed to make sure the buyer’s criminal and mental health status have not changed. Currently, these background checks, performed by the Maryland State Police, take 3 to 6 months.

The problem is that gun dealers may legally release guns to buyers after 8 days whether a background check has been completed or not unless the dealer knows or has reason to believe he or she is ineligible to buy one.

Delegate Cardin said, “This loophole has been around for many years, and the fact that almost no one is talking about it is alarming. It presents a grave danger to Maryland families. This year alone, the State Police have reported that seventy (70) individuals who were not eligible to buy a gun because they had previously committed violent crimes, been convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses or had been diagnosed with mental instability were able to obtain guns before their background check was completed. We are lucky that none of these seventy people committed crimes before they were forced to relinquish their guns, but we may not be so fortunate next time. We also do not know how many other people who are not eligible to own a gun are walking around with guns right now because of this loophole.”

Pastor Alvin Gwynn Sr., President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA), said “With Baltimore suffering from more than 200 homicides this year, it is disgraceful that the law allows people access to weapons without completed background checks.  Gun violence is a plight on our community and we need the law on our side.”

Echoing Pastor Gywnn, Reverend Dr. John A. Lunn, Sr., pastor at Berean Baptist Church added, “The gun bill that was passed last year left a legal loophole that could be very detrimental in the future. It allows a person to purchase a gun without fully being checked out. This could possibly put a gun in the hands of the person who has a criminal background with malcontent to use it. I support Delegate Cardin in closing the loophole to keep any potential unlawful weapons off of the streets.”

Delegate Cardin continued “In May, three gun groups plus the NRA set out to force the State Police to allow gun dealers to give firearms to buyers after the 8 day waiting period without background checks through legal proceedings and public advocacy. The NRA even put out an inaccurate news release declaring they had won a victory forcing the State to change its policy. This is what we are fighting against – big money and special interest groups actively lobbying to get guns in the hands of people who should not have them.

“This year I will introduce a bill to close this glaring loophole.  I will also re-introduce legislation dedicating all tax revenues from gun sales to fund mental health services and reduce the risk of another mass shooting like Sandy Hook or the Navy Yard in Washington. While I enthusiastically supported the Governor’s gun law, we have to do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.”

Reverend Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr., Senior Pastor at Union Baptist Church, concluded, “It is important that our political leaders stay vigilant on laws that are well intentioned but need review to ensure we have a safe society. Delegate Cardin is diligent in advancing legislation that closes a loop hole in our gun laws. Every gun dealer and gun owner should be guided by this legislation. The Citizens of our State should be thankful Delegate Cardin is taking action to protect us.