New legislation looks to tighten restrictions on firearms in Maryland

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MARYLAND – Maryland lawmakers are looking to tighten restrictions on the wear, carry, and transport of firearm by introducing Senate Bill 1, also known as the Gun Safety Act of 2023.

“The advocates for this legislation are anxious about this issue. They’re very concerned. We’re talking about public safety,” Senator Johnny Mautz said.

The bill would prohibit a person to wear or carry a firearm within 100 feet of any public places like restaurants, hotels, and more regardless of their permit status.

Bill Sponsor Senator Jeff Waldstreicher believes this measure will help crackdown on gun violence in the state.

Yet, some worry the stricter legislation goes too far. “It doesn’t allow for security guards, private detectives, special police officers, or police officers that left in good standing but didn’t retire, or business owners to carry which have all typically been included in handgun permits,” Avnet said.

Former police officer Evan Avnet is Chief of Operations for Tactical American Security Consulting.

He says wear and carry permits can actually be a deterrent for criminal activity, especially when law enforcement isn’t present. “When you talk about the length of response times in rural areas like the Eastern Shore, to go from one side of the county to the other running lights and sirens can take you 20 minutes,” Avnet said. “20 minutes is a long time to wait to defend your life.”

Senator Johnny Mautz is also against this legislation, arguing the permit system in place is strong. “In order to get a wear and carry permit there’s a high standard. There’s a complete surrendering of all personal information, a background check, and things of that nature,” Senator Mautz said.

In fact, Senator Mautz believes the issue at hand is bigger than the right to carry. “The problem is how are we promoting public safety and what is the best way to do that,” Senator Mautz said.

Senate Bill 1 would also ban a person with a carry permit from carrying onto any private property without the owner’s consent.

The Bill will have its first hearing on Tuesday, February 7th.

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