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Demonstrators demand General Assembly target ghost guns

Gun Safety Protest in Annapolis, Jan. 25, 2022
Callan Tansill-Suddath
/
Callan Tansill-Suddath
Demonstrators rally for gun control in Annapolis, Jan. 25, 2022

Dozens of gun safety advocates swarmed Lawyer’s Mall in Annapolis Tuesday, calling on state lawmakers to take action on firearm access. Their main focus this session is ghost guns, which are firearms assembled using a kit that require no background checks and can be bought
online.

Melissa Ladd, chapter leader of Maryland Moms Demand Action, said they’re “untraceable and undetectable.” She called them the organization’s top priority.

“The ghost guns we've been working on for five years. So we are really hopeful that this will be the last year that we will have to be working on this issue,” she said.

She said activists have been emboldened by a recent spike in gun violence, in particular those connected to ghost guns.

One case involves a 15-year-old, who was critically injured after being shot with a ghost gun at Col. Zadok A. Magruder High School in Derwood in Montgomery County last week.

Andrea Chamblee, whose husband John Mcnamara was one of five killed in 2018 when a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newsroom, said she attended the rally for survivors who cannot.

“Not everybody who's been through gun violence has recovered enough to be here today,” she said. “But there are hundreds of us, millions of us, and we're everywhere. And we don't want them to join our club.”

The energy carried into the Senate chambers, where an impassioned debate over the proper way to handle gun violence unfolded.

“We need to take bold action. Because what we're seeing is little action or ineffective actions,” said Sen. Bryan Simonaire, the Republican leader. “Because year after year, we come back here and we see the same numbers. And I'm hoping this year is the year we can start to get these violent criminals off the streets.”

“There are actions that could have been taken during the nine months while we weren't in the legislature,” Sen. Cory McCray, a Baltimore Democrat, responded.

Other senators offered increasingly impassioned remarks until Senate President Bill Ferguson called for order.