Maryland Governor Vetoes Ban on Private Long Gun Transfers

Steyr bolt action rifles on a rack

Last week Gov. Hogan vetoed HB4/SB208, which would have expanded background checks on private transfers of long guns in Maryland. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan last week dripped veto ink on bills that would criminalize person-to-person transfers of shotguns and rifles without a background check.

The anti-gun measure, SB208/HB4, passed the Democrat-controlled Maryland General Assembly in March but Hogan scuttled the proposal on May 7 along with a package of a half-dozen other bills.

The expanded background check bill proposal, had Hogan signed it, would have prohibited a person from “selling, renting, transferring, or loaning a rifle or shotgun” to another individual unless a NICS background check had first taken place. Few exceptions, such as for police or military service or for inoperable guns given to a museum, were allowed. Those found guilty of doing so faced as much as six months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“These bills would have banned the sale or transfer of long guns between private individuals without first paying fees and obtaining government permission,” noted the NRA in a statement. “Firearm transfers such as loans and gifts between friends, neighbors, or fellow hunters, would not have been exempted. Research shows such proposals have no impact on violent crime and Gov. Hogan is to be commended for refusing to recognize the false claims pushed by anti-gun advocates on this legislation.”

While some parts of the Old Line State– for instance, Baltimore– have notoriously high crime rates per capita, FBI statistics show that long guns are typically not used in murders in the state. For example, in 2018, of the 470 homicides recorded in Maryland, a single instance was attributed to a perpetrator with a rifle and 10 to shotguns. In 2017, eight of 475 homicides were chalked up to long guns.

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