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Limits on where guns can be carried in public clears initial vote in Maryland Senate

The Maryland Senate is in session in Annapolis.
Matt Bush
The Maryland Senate is in session in Annapolis.

Amid a spike in applications for concealed carry permits in the state, the Maryland Senate gave initial approval Thursday to a bill defining where those permit holders can take their firearms.

The number of applicants for such permits in Maryland increased sevenfold since last summer when then-Gov. Larry Hogan lowered the requirement to get one.

That move came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. By a 6-3 ruling, justices called New York State’s higher standard to receive such a concealed carry permit unconstitutional. Maryland’s ‘substantial reason’ at the time was similar to New York’s.

Montgomery County Democratic Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher is the chief sponsor of the billdefining where guns will be allowed.

He recited to his colleagues on the Senate floor the lengthy list of public places where concealed carry firearms will be prohibited:

  • Schools [public and private]
  • Pre-kindergarten facilities
  • Buildings of institutions of higher learning
  • Health care facilities
  • Youth camps
  • Shelters for runaway youth
  • Buildings owned or leased by the government
  • Polling places
  • Electric plants
  • Places licensed to sell alcohol or cannabis for on-site consumption
  • Stadiums
  • Museums
  • Live concert venues
  • Live theater venues
  • Fairs or carnivals
  • Race tracks
  • Casinos
  • Locations being used for organized sporting activity or competition
  • Public demonstrations

Two Other Gun Bills Get Initial OK

The Senate on Thursday also gave initial approval to two other bills that received less pushback from Republican lawmakers.

The first allows the Maryland State Police Gun Center to track all firearms surrendered through final protective orders.

The other expands laws surrounding storage of firearms. It prohibits a person from “storing or leaving a firearm in a location where the person knew or reasonably should have known that a prohibited person or an unsupervised minor is likely to gain access to the firearm.”

The measure is called Jaelynn’s law, named for Jaelynn Wiley. The 16-year-old was shot and killed in 2018 in a St. Mary’s County Schoolby a fellow teen who used his father’s gun.

Final votes on all three bills are expected in the coming days before each goes to the House.

Matt Bush spent 14 years in public radio prior to coming to WYPR as news director in October 2022. From 2008 to 2016, he worked at Washington D.C.’s NPR affiliate, WAMU, where he was the station’s Maryland reporter. He covered the Maryland General Assembly for six years (alongside several WYPR reporters in the statehouse radio bullpen) as well as both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. @MattBushMD
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