Maryland Firearms Database Ruled Illegal by Attorney General

This past summer the Anne Arundel County Council passed an ordinance that required “dealers of secondhand merchandise” to maintain records and purchase an additional business license in order to continue to operate their business in the county.

That vague but all-inclusive term, “dealers of secondhand merchandise,” was arbitrarily extended by the Country Executive and the Anne Arundel County Police Department to include firearms dealers.

Following the passage of this new requirement, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc. – an all-volunteer grassroots organization dedicated to the preservation of all aspect of the right to keep and bear arms – took action.

In an open letter to members and concerned citizens, Maryland Shall Issue explained its reason for opposing the bill:

1.  That the $250 base license with $50 per employee add on fee was an unacceptable burden to these heavily regulated small businesses which must already purchase federal and state firearms licenses as well as county business licenses.

2.  Most importantly, that the records keeping requirements were a blatant violation of the state preemption laws. The State of Maryland “preempts the right of a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district to regulate the purchase, sale, taxation, transfer, manufacture, repair, ownership, possession and transportation of” a handgun, rifle or shotgun as well as the ammunition for those firearms. (Criminal Law Article – Section 4-209 (a)

maryland citizens defense league logoMoreover, in practice, this new policy “would have required these licensed firearms dealers to submit a daily record of their transactions to the county police with information including the type of firearm as well as the name and address of the person transferring the firearm,” according to the Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.

In an effort to fight this ordinance, Maryland Shall Issue, in conjunction with Delegate Don Dwyer (R-District 31), solicited the Attorney General to review the legality of the ordinance.

Late last month, Delegate Dwyer’s office received an official opinion from the Office of the Attorney General confirming that the ordinance as “being enforced is in direct contravention of the state preemption laws.”

Now, Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., is urging citizens to politely contact their local representatives, those individuals on the County Council, and let them know that the ordinance, as it is being applied to firearms dealers, is in direct conflict with state law.

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