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Beitzel introduces gun safety bill

January 16th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

 Delegate Wendell R. Beitzel (R – District 1A) announced Thursday morning that he will be submitting a smart gun safety bill, a cornerstone piece for the Republican Party’s public safety initiative this session.  The bill seeks to protect responsible gun owners and deter criminals from stealing firearms for violent purposes. It does this by establishing the theft of a firearm as a separate felony offense that would stack with other transgressions. The first offense would carry a two-year minimum, five-year maximum sentence and a $1,000 maximum fine; subsequent offenses carry a five-year minimum, ten-year maximum sentence and a $2,500 maximum fine.

Current law incorporates guns under the general theft statute, which is usually a misdemeanor offense with penalties based on the item’s monetary value. Convicted felons are prevented by existing Maryland law from possessing or purchasing a firearm; Delegate Beitzel’s bill would therefore prevent people who have stolen a firearm from attempting to own one again.

All firearms, including handguns and long guns, are covered in the provisions. Antique weapons, another frequent target for criminals, are also protected. Delegate Beitzel has introduced this bill in the previous two legislative sessions. Both times it was defeated in the Judiciary Committee, although their rationale was unclear.

Delegate Beitzel believes this is a smart approach to preserve lawful gun ownership. Increased penalties should further dissuade criminals from attempting to obtain a firearm illegally, and those convicted of this crime would be unable to own a firearm again. He hopes for bipartisan support.

Recent spikes in violent crime throughout Maryland have alarmed legislators. Both parties agree that public safety legislation is needed to manage this outbreak. Unlike some other legislation, however, this bill does not punish lawful gun owners. Instead it defends their property while making it less likely that violent criminals can get their hands on a gun.

The bill will be read in the House of Delegates and assigned to a committee in the coming weeks.

3 Responses to “Beitzel introduces gun safety bill”

  1. January 16, 2020 at 12:42 pm, Pat said:

    This sounds like a very sensible bill. Criminal penalties should be enhanced by this type of legislation when dealing with criminals and their theft and use of firearms. Kudos to Delegate Beitzel. Hope the rest of the legislature sees through their blinders.


  2. January 16, 2020 at 12:42 pm, Brian said:

    Now you know that the state of Maryland is never going to do anything to protect gun owners they only want to protect criminals


  3. January 18, 2020 at 7:51 am, Ken said:

    Does anyone seriously believe that criminals will be deterred by the threat of a felony conviction? If that approach worked, murder and assaults would have ceased years ago.


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