Maryland Gun Law Includes Controversial Fingerprinting Measures

Opponents of the law have sued to block it in federal court

A new gun law goes into effect on Tuesday in Maryland that has sparked residents to purchase firearms in record numbers. The new law has provisions that are designed to keep guns away from the mentally ill and criminals, build up safety training and bans 45 kinds of assault weapons. Opponents of the law say it is useless and will only make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to practice their Second Amendment rights. The critics also say Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is considering a run for president in 2016, pushed the law only to build his credentials for the Democratic primary race.

In the federal court in Baltimore on Thursday, opponents sued to block the legislation and the court scheduled for a hearing for Tuesday. Their motion would temporarily block implementation of the law while the court considers whether to bar its enforcement. A provision that will require law-abiding citizens to be fingerprinted is of particular concern. Maryland would be the sixth state to do so if the law stands. Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Hawaii are the other five states that have passed such measures.

Speaking on the fingerprinting measures, the governor said, “States with similar licensing provisions have substantially lower gun death rates than states that do not. So, if we want better results, we have to make better choices, and this legislation is part of that series of better choices that we are making.” Republican Nancy Jacobs, who opposes the law, doubts the effectiveness of such measures, including the provision for fingerprinting. Criminals will still find ways to get guns, she says. “They are going to continue to buy them on the street,” said Jacobs. “They are going to continue to break into peoples’ homes and steal them. They will get them.”

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