Maryland is known for being an anti-gun state, but one sheriff outside of Baltimore is working with state lawmakers to make obtaining handgun permits easier for law-abiding citizens. Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler is looking to especially ease the restrictions on permits for citizens who are in "imminent danger." In Maryland, as of October 1, 2013, a resident must obtain a permit to own, rent, or receive a handgun, according to the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association.
Gahler will work with two of Harford County's state senators, Robert Cassilly and Wayne Norman, and two Anne Arundel County delegates, Seth Howard and Michael Malone, on several gun-related bills during the 2016 legislative session, according to a recent news release from the Sheriff's Office outlining Gahler's legislative platform.
The General Assembly will convene for its 90-day session on Jan. 13. The sheriff will work with the four legislators to "protect the right of all Marylanders to bear arms," according to the news release.
"I am very appreciative of the fact that Sheriff Gahler supports the Second Amendment," Norman, whose district also includes parts of western Cecil County, said Tuesday.
Gahler is seeking legislation that would reduce the license fee for handgun purchases by 50 percent, to make corrections officers and retired federal law enforcement officials exempt from training when applying for a handgun license and to allow the secretary of State Police to "temporarily waive" required firearms training for applicants who are in "imminent danger."
While the state could go further in loosening other restrictions, specifically the ten-round magazine limit and the ban on assault weapons, but this is a something that could move the conversation on gun rights in a deep blue state. The temporary waiver could be a consideration for other anti-gun states, like New Jersey, which also requires a resident to obtain a firearms identification card before purchasing a handgun.
One woman, Carol Bowne of Berlin Township, was trying to obtain one after feeling threatened by her late ex-boyfriend, Michael Eitel, who later stabbed Bowne in the driveway of her home last June. Eitel, a convicted felon prior to this horrific murder, committed suicide a few days later, his body was found in a nearby garage. The point is that in Jersey, sometimes the permit process could take months. Bowne had installed home surveillance equipment, an alarm system, and obtained a restraining order, but to no avail.
Additionally, the article, written by the Baltimore Sun, points out that background checks are conducted on all sales at the Bel Air Gun Show hosted every year in Harford County:
President Barack Obama proposed federal legislation in 2013 after Sandy Hook to close the loopholes that allow people to purchase firearms from private sellers other than licensed weapons dealers.
Many of those purchases are made online or during gun shows, although anyone who purchases a firearm during Bel Air's annual Gun Show must go through a background check on-site at the Bel Air Armory.
In November, Maryland finally got rid of a “ballistic fingerprint” database that cost millions and had yet to solve a single crime…15 years after its inception:
Since 2000, the state required that gun manufacturers fire every handgun to be sold here and send the spent bullet casing to authorities. The idea was to build a database of "ballistic fingerprints" to help solve future crimes.
But the system — plagued by technological problems — never solved a single case. Now the hundreds of thousands of accumulated casings could be sold for scrap.
So, hopefully there’s some movement on the gun permit process in Maryland. Yet, we shouldn’t be shocked if nothing comes of this legislative push. Regardless, as with any Second Amendment fight, we should all wish them the best in the fight to expand their civil rights.